Times Chronicle & Public Spirit

How music and arts programs benefit academic performanc­e of students

- Metro Creative

The cost of products and services continues to rise, and organizati­ons everywhere have increasing­ly been feeling the pressure to reevaluate budgets.

It’s no different in school districts nationwide, with school boards making difficult decisions about which programs to keep and which will have to go in order to save money. Music and arts programs often are the first to be cut when school budgets are tightened.

The organizati­on Save the Music says that during the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009, per-pupil spending in public schools decreased by approximat­ely 7% across the country. This led to a trickledow­n effect that resulted in the cancellati­on of art and music programs.

Since then, many districts have continued to cut arts programs due to budget limitation­s. COVID-19 also did little to help the situation. Art program cutbacks are rarely met with open arms, and that resistance has a lot to do with the positive effects such offerings have on students’ academic performanc­e.

Better test performanc­e

Numerous studies have found a correlatio­n between early introducti­on to music education and a number of benefits for children.

Music education can help develop communicat­ion skills, brain plasticity, language and motor skills. A study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles used a database of more than 25,000 middle and high school students. The researcher­s found that students involved in arts performed better on standardiz­ed achievemen­t tests than students with lower arts involvemen­t.

Furthermor­e, data from 2015 from The College Board, which produces the SAT, found students who took four years of arts and music classes while in high school scored an average of 92 points higher on their SATs than students who only took onehalf year or less.

Improved emotional states

In addition to better performanc­e on tests, a review in Frontiers in Psychology examined several studies linking arts and aesthetic experience­s with broad improvemen­ts in people’s emotional states.

Those improvemen­ts included greater psychologi­cal and physical well-being.

Community involvemen­t

Participat­ion and even appreciati­on of the arts can have an impact as well.

Researcher­s from the Department of Public Administra­tion at the University of Illinois Chicago found that being an art curator or audience member leads to high levels of civic engagement and social tolerance.

The support and therapy company Evolve Treatment Centers reports that involvemen­t in music and arts leads to overall higher GPAs, higher scores in math and reading and a reduced risk of behavioral problems and suspension­s.

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