Why Music?

  • "The MWHS music programs have taught me the value of dedication and hard work, not just in the classroom, but in life in general. There is such a noticeable difference when you put in the time and heart into something as great as music; you can convey all sorts of messages to the audience and have amazing effects on people’s lives."
    —Tom Lloyd, MWHS class of 2015

    Translated into the language of business, a prospective employee may describe the benefits of their music education thusly:

    • Creative and comfortable with themselves
    • Performs well under pressure
    • Self-disciplined, self-starter, takes personal initiative
    • Good planning and project management skills
    • Leadership skills
    • Teamwork skills

    Transferable Skills

    Producing performances based on planned growth (time to learn the music) makes musicians good project managers, able to plan ahead toward individual or group goals. Musicians come to understand that it is only through working effectively with others (accompanists, conductors and or other performers) that a performance will be successful.

    Middle school and high school students who participated in instrumental music scored significantly higher than their non-band peers on standardized tests. University studies conducted in Georgia and Texas found significant correlations between the number of years of instrumental music instruction and academic achievement in math, science and language arts.
    Source: University of Sarasota Study, Jeffrey Lynn Kluball; East Texas State University Study, Daryl Erick Trent

    Data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 showed that music participants received more academic honors and awards than non-music students, and that the percentage of music participants receiving A’s and B’s was higher than the percentage of non-participants receiving those grades.
    Source: National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988 First Follow-Up (1990), U.S. Department of Education

    High school music students score higher on SATs in both verbal and math than their peers. In 2001, SAT takers with coursework/experience in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 41 points higher on the math portion than students with no coursework/experience in the arts.
    Source: Profile of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The College Board, compiled by Music Educators National Conference, 2001

    A 10-year study, tracking more than 25,000 students, shows that music-making improves test scores. Regardless of socioeconomic background, music-making students get higher marks in standardized tests than those who had no music involvement. The test scores studied were not only standardized tests, such as the SAT, but also in reading proficiency exams.
    Source: Dr. James Catterall, UCLA, 1997

    Med School Musicians

    Music majors are the most likely group of college grads to be admitted to medical school. Physician and biologist Lewis Thomas studied the undergraduate majors of medical school applicants. He found that 66 percent of music majors who applied to med school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group. In comparison, 44 percent of biochemistry majors were admitted. Also, a study of 7,500 university students revealed that music majors scored the highest reading scores among all majors including English, biology, chemistry and math.
    Sources: “The Comparative Academic Abilities of Students in Education and in Other Areas of a Multi-focus University,” Peter H. Wood, ERIC Document No. ED327480; “The Case for Music in the Schools,” Phi Delta Kappan, February, 1994