OKTOY Blog: Why Music Education? | The Social Component

“Where words fail, music speaks.” -Hans Christian Anderson

As part of National Music in Our Schools Month (#MIOSM), we recently celebrated Oklahoma Youth Arts Day at the capitol. The drove of legislators who descended on the fourth-floor rotunda when the 2014 All-State Children’s Chorus began singing was impressive and easily testifies to the impact that music has on each of us.

Through the practice of a performance art, music students increase their self-worth. Regardless if students perform for the accolades, they do receive applause and other positive feedback, and encouraging our students to develop and share their gift should be at the heart of a music education curriculum. Performance skills help to increase self-confidence and independence, valuable skills as our students enter the job market required to present themselves, their brand and their company with a high level of confidence, a sureness that is inherently structured through music performances. Indeed, many of our legislators likely gained at least a portion of their political presentation abilities through a school performance art.

Our music students develop a rigorous work ethic. Music education provides opportunities to fail and to be rewarded through hard work, more so than innate ability. In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell cites a study of music conservatory students broken into three categories of ability, and the one factor that determined each separate level was the amount of time students spent practicing. Simply put, hard work is rewarded with high ability, and music students learn this experience through consistent practice and a ceaseless need for detail.

More rapidly than any other discipline, a musician can create. Whether he pops out a riff on his guitar or she improvises over a melody on the radio, our students can create something that didn’t exist five minutes ago. Additionally, inherent leadership opportunities abound in a music classroom. Unlike athletics where only a few students have a leadership role at one time, music students succeed or fail together. Regardless of whether a student is the leader of a section or in the back row, the leadership and success of each player is necessary to create a proud product.

Perhaps the greatest benefit a music classroom offers is a sense of belonging. Many of our students elect to be there, and because of this, we have a rare opportunity to maximize the social component, the feeling that we share something great with our peers. Music is “our” thing, and by sharing our music, we may be more universally accepted than anyone else.

Any legislator would credit their success to their strong self-confidence, work ethic, leadership ability and creativity, and they all want to belong to something great. Music-Education-For-All seems like a solid formula for this success!


Peter Markes

2014 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year

Oklahoma Teacher of the Year Program



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Last updated on March 26, 2014