The lifelong effects of music and arts classes

A study by Dr Kenneth Elpus from the University of Maryland has looked at the effects of school-based music education on later adult engagement with the arts, using data on 9,482 adults. He concludes that those who studied music and arts at school were more likely to continue to create art and to attend arts events.

“If one aim of music education, as many music educators report, is to engender a lifelong connection with the arts,” writes Dr Kenneth Elpus of the University of Maryland, “the results of this study suggest that music — and arts education more broadly — is achieving this aim for many alumni.”

For his study, published in journal Psychology of Music, Elpus analyzed data from the 2012 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, an ongoing project of the once-again-threatened National Endowment for the Arts. It included data on 9,482 American adults regarding “their childhood experiences with music and arts education.” A larger group of 35,735 were asked about their arts-related experiences over the past year, as an audience member and/or creator.

“Rather than disengage from art-making and arts attendance upon graduation, students of school-based music and arts education were significantly more likely (than their peers) to create art in their own lives, and to patronize arts events,” Elpus reports.

Pacific Standard magazine:
Psychology of Music:

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