Step to the Music

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Step to the Music by Juanita Diego 1 If studying music could help our students do better in other subjects, shouldn’t it be taught in every school? That’s why it’s so upsetting that our local schools have had no music programs for the past five years. In nearby Fillmore County, public school students study all kinds of music. They also learn how to play an instrument. Here in Larchwood, tight budgets have made our schools music-free zones. Parents should protest, and I’ll tell you why. 2 Experts have found that learning how to listen to music increases your ability to understand other kinds of information, especially information that is presented in a specific pattern or sequence. Think ™ © Advanced Assessment Systems/LinkIt! Duplication is restricted to licensees only. about it. When you hear a piece of music, you don’t absorb it all at once, as you would when you study a piece of art. Instead, you have to listen to it note by note. Then you have to hold the sequence in your mind as you hear each new note. This skill is very useful as it helps you build a longer attention span. It also helps you organize information mentally and increase your comprehension of the books you read. 3 If listening to music helps that much, imagine how much a student’s mind is enriched when learning to play an instrument. A musician has to read the notes on the page and translate them into fingering patterns to create a sound. That kind of learning will involve many parts of the brain. Music also has important connections to math. To play an instrument, musicians learn such things as how many beats to hold each note, and to count the notes before it’s their turn to play their instrument. Music students are trained to listen to repeating sound patterns. These skills will help students improve their grasp of different kinds of math. 4 Music also helps with self-discipline. Becoming good at playing an instrument takes daily practice. Musicians have to work through difficult sections of the music until they can finally master them. Many kids who study music have noticed that they don’t just become good flute players or drummers. They also become better at carrying through with any task. Playing in a band or an orchestra builds their teamwork skills, too. And anyone can see how learning music will improve memory skills! 5 Many schools have tight budgets. It’s understandable that they would trim music programs rather than eliminate math or reading. But our community can raise money for music programs in other ways. We can organize fund-raisers. We can encourage local businesses to sponsor our school program. There may even be national foundations that help with music education. Every avenue should be explored so that the students in our county can get smarter through music. ™ © Advanced Assessment Systems/LinkIt! Duplication is restricted to licensees only.

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