A recent post on the Music Teacher’s Helper blog led me to this recent study conducted by NAMM, the association for music manufacturers and retailers. It shows a strong correlation between the presence of quality music programs (not just having music programs) and the overall academic achievement within schools. Some statistics:
Results from the elementary schools show:
- Students in top-quality music programs scored 22 percent better in English and 20 percent better in mathematics than students in deficient music programs.
- These academic differences were fairly consistent across geographic regions.
- Students at the four elementary schools with high-quality music programs scored better than students participating in programs considered to be of lower quality.
Results from the middle schools show:
- Students in top-quality instrumental programs scored 19 percent higher in English than students in schools without a music program, and 32 percent higher in English than students in a deficient choral program.
- Students in top-quality instrumental programs scored 17 percent higher in mathematics than children in schools without a music program, and 33 percent higher in mathematics than students in a deficient choral program.
- Students at schools with excellent music programs had higher English test scores across the country than students in schools with low-quality music programs; this was also true when considering mathematics.
- Students in all regions with lower-quality instrumental programs scored higher in English and mathematics than students who had no music at all.
- Students who participated in low-quality choral programs generally scored the lowest.
What is significant is the correlation between high quality music departments and not just music in general, although the presence of any music also signifies higher academic achievement in this study. This is not surprising to those of us who teach and perform music professionally. We see this correlation every day.
If you are interested in reading about some of the reasons why this higher academic achievement occurs in schools with high-quality music programs, check out my post titled Hard-Wiring the Musical Mind.