Many of us remember the first time we picked up an instrument. Maybe it was in band class or if we were lucky enough, a parent or family member noticed us plucking out some notes on the guitar and gave us private lessons. Maybe it was at our first concert that we experienced the power of music. Today, we understand a lot about the power of music programs in schools. Music is a powerful trigger for memory recall and for other forms of self-expression like songwriting or performing. We give kids these life-enriching benefits each time they pick up an instrument.
Music Programs in Schools Introduce Kids to Lifelong Passions
Kids need low-risk ways to try things they are curious about. What better way than music programs in schools? While private lessons aren’t wrong, students can feel pressured because of the cost and added burden to their schedules (especially if they have lots of homework)! In a safe and predictable environment like a school setting, kids can feel free to explore a range of activities, from martial arts to hip-hop dance, yoga, theater, kids chorus, drum circle, or rock band.
Many artists and performers cite their early exposure to music education as the factor behind finding their passion and having time to develop it into a career. But, of course, it doesn’t have to become a career. For many kids, finding a way to express themselves is reason enough to pursue a musical hobby.
Kids Experience Engaging Learning Environments For Their Bodies and Minds
Musical expression activates many parts of the brain at once. For example, it can increase blood flow to parts of the brain that help us process emotions and has dopamine-releasing effects that facilitate experiences of awe. Kids encounter this in their early exposure to music because it is a non-traditional learning environment from the class lecture setting. It requires rehearsed bodily movements, as is the case for a violinist or pianist, and a present focus that helps students put their cares aside.
After-School Music Programs in Schools Are Crucial for Students Who Can’t Otherwise Access Arts Education
As many school administrators understand, music and arts programs are often subjected to budget cuts and financial constraints schools face. But after the passage of Proposition 28 in California, schools have specific funding devoted to the arts.
This will help equalize access to the arts for students in school systems already under pressure to cut programs due to pandemic-related costs. In addition, this provision of art programs in schools is essential for kids whose only experience of the arts will come from after-school activities.
“The National Endowment for the Arts Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA) found that after a steady trend of increased arts education in the twentieth century, access to arts education has declined for the past three decades. Many attribute schools’ decreased emphasis on the arts to the increased focus on subjects measured for test-based accountability. In one national survey, more than half of educators reported the arts were receiving less instructional time and resources. Only 12 and 10 percent reported similar declines in English and math instruction, respectively.”
After-school programs benefit students in underserved districts and working parents, too. After-school childcare and supervision is costly and out of reach for many of these parents. Kids’ early exposure to music is a constructive way to benefit families and deflect persistent inequities within underfunded school systems.
The Value of Music Programs in Schools is Enjoyment
Beyond the research-based benefits of these programs, it comes down to creating a safe and enjoyable space for kids to express themselves. After School Music Academy’s mission is to help kids and young adults gain confidence through creativity.
To us, it’s not about perfect performances or discovering prodigies but uncovering the natural talent and capacity to create hidden in every student. A world where kids are free and safe to express themselves is a world we seek to create. Interested in bringing some music and movement-based classes to your after-school program? Are you designing a program for your district from scratch? Start a conversation with us to get more information!