Music sets tone for student success

By Alan Dropps: Guest columnist

Today marks the beginning of “Music in our Schools Week.”

This event is celebrated annually in the Clovis Municipal School District. We celebrate in a variety of ways.

We hold a poster contest for our elementary students, present a “Grand Concert,” perform individual school concerts, and conclude the week with a solo contest co-sponsored by the El Desayuno Kiwanis Club.

Since 2001, the national educational focus has been on the “No Child Left Behind” act. Since NCLB’s implementation, many school districts have decided to abandon music education and focus solely on reading and math test scores. This in spite of the fact that research shows that students who are involved in music do better in school in a variety of ways.

Young children who take music lessons show different brain development and improved memory over the course of a year, compared to children who do not receive musical training.

Musical training improves memory. After one year the musically trained children performed better in a memory test that is correlated with general intelligence skills such as literacy, verbal memory, visio-spatial processing, mathematics and IQ.

Furthermore, students who are in music education continue to outscore their peers on college entrance exams.

Students who took music education courses scored 57 points higher on the verbal portion and 43 points higher on the math portion of the Scholastic Aptitude Test than students who were not involved in music education.

As you can see, music makes students smarter at all academic levels.

Instead of abandoning music education, school districts should be embracing all that music education affords their students. Aside from the academic benefits, music education gives students so much more.

Music allows students to connect with themselves and it also serves as a bridge to positively connect with others.

Music has the power to bring people together.

Fortunately for our students, CMS has been ahead of the curve when it comes to recognizing the importance of music education.

Approximately 5,800 students receive music instruction from a certified music teacher in the Clovis school system.

Furthermore, CMS recognizes music as a “core subject,” meaning it is just as important as reading, math, science and social studies.

I would like to thank the community for its continued support of music in our schools and to remind all that having a strong music education program is in the best interest of our students.