Music education is considered enrichment by some, and education by others. The research, for many decades, has shown that it should be considered core education. It's about as extra as math or history.
The first reason is that human beings need art: we don't just enjoy it. As humans, we actually need it, psychologically and biologically.
The second is that it permanently changes how our brains are wired, how we process emotions, how we handle negative life events, and how our brains develop.
As it relates to young people's development writ large, music education has massive effects on their brain development. There are six neurological differences between active music creators and non-musicians, found in the prefrontal cortex (where executive function, decision-making, and impulse control are operated):
Most crucially, these benefits are not found in those who simply consume music or write about music. They are found in those who actively engage in the difficult creative process of making music.
The long and the short of it is, if students don't engage in active music making, they will be much further behind than those who do engage in active music making.
In many countries, like America, music education continues to be seen as "enrichment" by the school system. It's extra, like putting sprinkles on your ice cream.
Meanwhile, wealthy parents invest endless dollars in private music lessons for their children.
The scientists and the high achievers know that music is fundamental to a young person's growth and development.
The American school system needs to catch up.
June 17, 2020