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More Music in our Catholic Schools!

posted Feb 4, 2012, 8:05 AM by Steven Vaughan

As we conclude Catholic Schools week and begin to discuss the future curriculum at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Academy, I’d like to stress the importance of a music program that includes general fundamentals of reading and understanding for the lower grades, and either band or chorus for the upper, taught as a subject during the day and not as an “after school program”.  Research has proven again and again that a music curriculum benefits all students, not just the “gifted” identified as “musically inclined.”  Columbia University found that “students enrolled in arts-based classes were more cooperative with teachers and peers, more self-confident, and better able to express their ideas.”  And Dr. James Catterall of UCLA learned “students who study music achieve higher test scores regardless of their socioeconomic background.” 

Specifically, a study titled Arts Exposure and Class Performance “concluded that there was a definite correlation between students’ rising math test scores and the length of time invested in arts education classes.”  Sheila Douglas and Peter Willatts published in the Journal of Research in Reading that “after six months, students receiving music instruction achieved a significant increase in reading test scores while the group trained in discussion skills showed no change.”

During the early developmental years, children’s brain neurons are being “wired.”  That’s why they seem to learn faster and easier.  This provides a window of opportunity which must not be missed if they’re to achieve their full potential.  Music is part of everyone’s lives, and learning to understand it at an early age allows you to both participate and appreciate it so much more.  As Newsweek Magazine published in a study on arts education, “Give your children the experiences they need when they need it and anything’s possible.  Stumble and all bets are off.”  Now is the time to urge the board and administration of St. Joseph the Worker to include a fully developed music program that includes general instruction; band or orchestra; and chorus.  

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