Music programs: More than just a class

Jenna Palma, Contributing Writer

 

Music programs in schools are dying and no one seems to care. Studies have shown that students involved in music programs have better test scores yet schools keep cutting the budget. Learning to play an instrument or just singing in a choir can have life long benefits and schools that don’t offer these programs are missing out on a big opportunity for their students.

Taking these classes accelerates maturity in areas of the brain that process sound, helps with language development, speech perception, as well as reading skills. It’s like a full brain workout. Yes, music can help with math skills but there is so much more to it than that. 

Eventually, students find out what they’re good at. Whether it’s math, science, or athletics. They find their place and take classes that correlate to that. Those are the classes they enjoy. By taking away one of the options students become miserable and disengaged. They don’t have a class to be passionate about anymore and school becomes something they’re forced to do. They lose interest.

Athletic and academic programs don’t have to worry about budget cuts because society views them better than the arts. There isn’t much encouragement to be creative. Students overwork themselves to get good grades or give up because they aren’t good at the subject. 

The environment in a music class can be a lot different as well. In my own personal experience choir is a place to take a break. We still work hard but it’s different. I’m not forced to sit at a desk and listen to a teacher lecture while I take notes. I’m not spending the hour writing a paper or doing some class project about something I’m not interested in. it’s a lot more social than other classes.

My first year taking choir at Wyoming I knew one person in the class. By the end of the year, I had gained three new friends. Just because we’re singing doesn’t mean we aren’t working. Everyone has to do their part to get the sound we want. There is more traditional work like music theory and journals. 

It’s also a class where students can take a minute to breathe and do something different. It’s a place where students can have fun and still get stuff done. 

Shylynn Bullard shared her choir experience here at Wyoming and a couple of other schools with me. Overall her experience in choir was positive. She even said “Choir did significantly help me cooperate with other people, learned how to blend in with the group and not try to stand out and be the better one.” Choir has been a place for her to learn teamwork and cooperation. She also said that “Wyoming is the better choice for choir because Wyoming has purposely pushed the boundary to help me blend in with people and meet other people. I wouldn’t have as many friends as I do now if it wasn’t for choir.” It’s become a place to meet people and make friends.

Another experience Shylynn shared with me was what her time in the Cedar Springs choir was like. She said, “A lot of people were friendly.” She told me the story of one girl in the choir who often suffered from panic attacks and how if one every started Shylynn and her group of friends would spring into action and help her out of it.

Funding programs like these can be difficult but it has more of an impact on students in the long run. Programs like these have such a substantial effect on students that the cost should be worth it. The kids involved in music programs allow their brains to develop so much more than other students. This allows them to be successful in the real world. It’s a place where they can develop relationships with people they learn to trust. If done right, music programs help students do more than learn how to sing or play an instrument. By keeping the music alive in schools students involved gain life long skills that can help them in the real world.