Katherine Damkohler, executive director of Education Through Music, writes in the Huffington Post website that children learn better when music is part of their school curriculum.
She talks about music’s multiplier effect – beyond the evidence about impact on academic achievement – including:
self-esteem and self-confidence
increased likelihood of taking part in extracurricular activities
reduced likelihood of dropping out of school
improved social and emotional development
improved creative thinking
Education Through Music align the music curriculum with what is being taught in other classrooms, including math, science, social studies and language arts and she says that the tangible impact of an integrated approach is impressive.
She says that harnessing music as a dynamic educational tool is essential to the future of our children’s academic achievement and future success in life, and music’s multiplier effect must be considered in discussions about education reform.
The Arts Education Partnership (AEP) in Washington DC published a useful advocacy document for music education in 2011, funded by the Quincy Jones Musiq Consortium. It was based on a review of an extensive body of high-quality, evidence-based studies that document student learning outcomes in and through music.
The results show conclusively that music education equips students with the foundational abilities to learn, to achieve in other core academic subjects, and to develop the capacities, skills and knowledge essential for lifelong success.
The document summarises the benefits around three main areas: (1) Music education prepares students to learn; (2) Music education facilitates student academic achievement; and (3) Music education develops the creative capacities for lifelong success.
Over the summer of 2013 music organisation Noise Solution worked with seven Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) clients in a pilot project to test the appropriateness and effectiveness of Noise Solution’s methodology for this client group.
Noise Solution is an outcomes driven organisation providing bespoke 1 to 1 support through music and technology and aims to: 1. increase the learner’s confidence 2. foster a greater feeling of self determination 3. provide a successful educational experience with qualification where appropriate 4. increase musical skills 5. facilitate a positive progression to education/volunteering etc
The pilot lasted from May to October and involved 204 hours of delivery to seven young people. It achieved successful engagement and recognised qualifications with 100% of learners, progressed all but one to other positive activities, achieved an attendance rate from a very challenging client group of 94% and in terms of improved functioning every one of the participants reported improvements in key indicators to wellbeing. These improvements were backed up by independent feedback from those closest to the client confirming that improvement.
An evaluation the following year of work with 10 young people from the government’s ‘Troubled Families‘ initiative further demonstrates the organisation’s success in engaging these hard to reach young people and helping them to progress.
In August 2010, Professor Susan Hallam of the Institute of Education at the University of London, published an overview paper on the impact of music on intellectual, personal and social development. Drawing on the results of numerous studies, she concludes that playing an instrument can lead to a sense of achievement; an increase in self-esteem; increased confidence; self-discipline; and provide a means of self-expression. While participating in musical groups promotes friendships; social skills; a sense of belonging; team-work; co-operation; commitment; mutual support; increased concentration and provides an outlet for relaxation.
She is about to (December 2014) publish an updated research paper.