In 2011, schools with music programs had a 90.2 percent graduation rate as opposed to schools without these advantages only having a 72.9 percent graduation rate. Funding issues have generated controversial debates about whether or not music programs should remain in schools. Although critics say that schools’ limited funds should be spent on improving on the quality of education, statistics have argued for the other side. Providing music education in schools prepares students for the workplace, causes higher attendance and graduation rates, and increases test scores.
Despite the benefits that music education provides, some ignorant people criticize music and say limited funding should be spent on academics or sports. They argue that, “The ability to paint a picture or dance will not aid in landing a job’(“Arts Education”). This is true, but the point of music education is not to provide all musical students with a job; it is to teach them valuable skills that can be used in the workplace. Roberta Guspari, a New York violin teacher, supports this idea. She says, “learning an instrument teaches you to study anything.” Other commentators say that in 2011, over 70 percent failed a national science test (“Arts Education”). They say that building art studios and buying new instruments are a waste of money that could be used for improving academic performance. These statements may also be true but by no fault of music education. How many of these students participated in music courses? The fall in academic scores should be credited to a lack of preparation by staff.
By providing students with the opportunities to pursue their musical interests, schools are creating environments that foster twenty-first century skills. These skills include time management, innovative problem solving, and self-discipline as well as many more (“VH1 Save the Music”). Skills such as these are used everyday by adults in a working environment as well as in music classrooms. In every class, students must learn how to communicate with their peers; they must learn how to put aside their differences and collaborate for the benefit of the group. As well as in the classroom students are developing skills outside the classroom. Students are educating themselves on self-discipline and time management while practicing. For many students, being taught how to play an instrument is also teaching them how to be criticized (Miller). So while the student is learning directly from the criticism, he is also learning how to handle situations where he does not know everything and must be taught. This skill can be used often in the workforce, especially in entry level jobs. Clearly, schools that provide music programs are setting their students up for success in the workplace.
Moreover, music programs also attract apathetic students to stay in school and participate more. In 2011, schools with music education programs had a 90.2 percent graduation rate; schools without these benefits only...