Why Music Matters

Music, like nothing else, can reach into our lives and affect us. Music changes our mood, sharpens our thoughts; it can transport us to places we visited, help us relive memories of special moments in our lives. Young or old, it has the power to make us healthier, happier, and more connected as friends, family, and as parts of a larger community.

At CCM, we recognize music is vital to the well being and full development of children, adolescents, and adults, and therefore essential to create thoughtful, and vibrant communities. At CCM we strive to offer musical experiences to anyone who desires them.

Really. Music does all this:

Emotional Benefits
Music is a creative, positive form of expression. Learning a song and being able to sing independently is a source of pride to a preschooler. Music also gives young children another way to express themselves through activity and sound.

Social Benefits
From birth, an infant's caregivers can interact musically with their child and help social interaction. Bouncing and tickling to songs help to build the infant's attention and social awareness. Toddlers and preschoolers benefit socially from musical interactions as well, but the sphere of influence then includes other children and teachers.

Math and Timing
Music makes learning math easier. The rhythm of the music composition allows a child to learn counting and timing. Learning timing is also essential in time management, and consequently, self-management.

Physical Benefits
Dance party! Music is the easiest way to get kids up and moving. Young children love to dance and move expressively to music. Additionally, playing instruments can aid in development of spatial reasoning, hand-eye coordination and fine motor control. 

Linguistic Benefits
Singing and musical stories can help children with vocabulary and reading skills, understanding lyrics and word play. Exposure to a wide vocabulary through music can help children learn to communicate verbally and make learning to read more fun.

Improves Mental Health and Quality of Life
Alzheimer’s Video
“In a now famous You Tube video, Henry, an elderly man with dementia, is transformed by the power of music. Initially slumped in his chair and unable to recognize his own daughter, Henry seems to be miraculously brought out of his stupor by a few minutes of music from his youth. This footage demonstrates a well-known but understudied effect: music can really “awaken” Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.”  Read more >

Improves Social Connections

Strengthens Social Connections
Students who participate in school band or orchestra have the lowest levels of current and lifelong use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs among any group in our society. (U.S. House of Representatives, Concurrent Res. 266, June 13, 2000)

Elevates Quality of Life for Adults
Older Americans who are actively involved in music show improvements with anxiety, loneliness, and depression issues that are critical in coping with stress, stimulating the immune system and improving health. (American Music Conference 2007)

Improves School Performance
A Harvard-based study has found that children who study a musical instrument for at least three years outperform children with no instrumental training—not only in tests of auditory discrimination and finger dexterity (skills honed by the study of a musical instrument), but also on tests measuring verbal ability and visual pattern completion (skills not normally associated with music). 

The study, published October 29, 2011 in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE, was led by Drs. Gottfried Schlaug and Ellen Winne. “While it is no surprise that the young musicians scored significantly higher than those in the control group on two skills closely related to their music training (auditory discrimination and finger dexterity), the more surprising result was that they also scored higher in two skills that appear unrelated to music—verbal ability (as measured by a vocabulary IQ test) and visual pattern completion (as measured by the Raven's Progressive Matrices). And furthermore, the longer and more intensely the child had studied his or her instrument, the better he or she scored on these tests.”

Better Math Testing
Middle school and high school students who report consistently high levels of involvement in instrumental music show significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12 regardless of students' socio-economic status. (U.S. Department of Education)

Increases SAT Scores
The College Entrance Examination Board found that students in music participation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math tests than students with no arts participation.(College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers, Princeton, NJ: The College Entrance Exam Board, 2001)

Essay
There have also been plenty of essays written in the past several decades about why music (and by extension, music education) is so important, and this article is a great addition to the collection.  

It's by Karl Paulnack, Director of the Music Division of the Boston Conservatory, and it comes from a welcome address that he gave to freshman students in 2004.