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Music Education and Success Are Like Peanut Butter & Jelly

Poll Links Music Education to Advanced Studies and Higher Incomes
A Harris Interactive Poll reveals a positive association of music with lifelong educational attainment and higher income.  Nearly nine in ten people with post graduate degrees participated in music education. Moreover, 83 percent of those with incomes over $150,000 participated in music. Music is recognized as a core academic subject, but with actual testing in only a narrow range of subjects, music is usually one of the first programs to be cut.
•If you want to be a CEO, college president or even a rock star, the message from this survey is: take music,• said John Mahlmann, Executive Director of the National Association for Music Education. •As with reading, writing and arithmetic, music should be a core academic focus because it is so vital to a well rounded education and will pay dividends later in life, no matter the career path taken.•
Respondents of the Harris Poll cite skills they learned in music as helping them in their careers today. Seventy-two percent of adults with music education agree that it equips people to be better team players in their career and nearly six in ten agree that music education has influenced their creative problem solving skills.  Many also agree music education provides a disciplined approach to problem solving, a sense of organization and prepares someone to manage the tasks of their job more successfully.
•Research confirms that music education at an early age greatly increases the likelihood that a child will grow up to seek higher education and ultimately earn a higher salary. The sad irony is that 'No Child Left Behind' is intended to better prepare our children for the real world, yet it's leaving music behind despite its proven benefits,• said Mahlmann. •While music clearly corresponds to higher performing students and adults, student access to music education had dropped about 20 percent in recent years, thanks in large part to the constraints of the No Child Left Behind Act.•
Other research has revealed that success and music have an inextricable bond:
- An earlier Harris study shows significantly higher graduation and attendance rates in schools with music programs (90.2 percent compared to 72.9 percent and 93.3 percent compared to 84.9 percent, respectively).
- Students in top-quality music programs scored 22 percent higher in English and 20 percent higher in math on standardized tests mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act. (University of Kansas Research)
- In 2006, SAT takers with coursework in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 43 points higher on the math portion. (The College Board, Profile of College-Bound Seniors National Report for 2006)
The benefits to music education are infinite and well-documented. For more information about the status of music teaching from preschool through graduate school, visit

By Chris Navarro
Get Music Jobs, Contributing Editor

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