Welcome to the Music Department
NPR’s All Things Considered (2/19, McCammon) reports on the decline in arts education as schools focus on core subjects “to improve test scores,” noting that music supporters have fought this trend by “pointing to the academic benefits of learning music, like better grades and improved attendance.” The piece notes that some supporters of music education “say that rhetoric is missing the point and overlooking the virtues of music that can’t be tested.” The piece notes that the National Association for Music Education has “launched a new campaign called Broader Minded, which makes the argument that music helps kids be more creative and work better together.”
The Education Week (11/26, Sparks) reports that new studies released at the Society for Neuroscience’s meeting last month have found that “music training may increase the neural connections in regions of the brain associated with creativity, decisionmaking, and complex memory” and that it may also “improve a student’s ability to process conflicting information from many senses at once.” Research also indicates that the earlier music education begins the better the results will be, although it can be helpful at any age.
The Wall Street Journal (12/3, Hollander, Subscription Publication) reports on the growing movement to meld arts curriculum into STEM education, forming a new discipline dubbed STEAM. The piece notes that the movement is growing, and the Journal describes a bipartisan STEAM caucus that has formed in Congress to push legislation promoting STEAM efforts.