Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Music Affects Literacy and Learning

Early in my career, I didn't understand the importance of ADVOCACY for music education. I KNEW music was making a wonderful difference in the lives of many of my students and in my school community, but I lacked the research base and determination to be vocal. I didn't want to appear self-promoting, and I assumed/hoped my administrators and students' parents would appreciate my hard work and speak up for my programs. Some did (thank goodness), but for most, music education was not a top priority. So collecting research articles and quotes became a hobby of mine. I now feel a responsibility to be an enthusiastic advocate. This blog is one way I hope to do so.

In today's post, I want to focus on how

Music develops visual and auditory skills needed to read, listen and organize abstract thoughts, concepts and memories. Singing also develops speech patterns and skills needed for articulation and projection.                        
                - Dr. Dee Hansen, Music, Literacy and the Brain, U of U Conference Keynote, 2009

“Second and third grade students who were taught fractions through musical rhythms scored one hundred (100) percent higher on fractions tests than those who learned in the conventional manner.”
        - Rhythm Students Learn Fractions More Easily, Neurological Research, March 15, 1999

Music and poetry offer tracks for fluency in speaking, reading, and writing. Music and poems facilitate flow and pacing for both articulate and expressive speech. More than perhaps any other experience, interaction with others through playful speaking, listening, singing, moving, and being immersed in sound encourages and motivates children to receive and express ideas through language – the scaffolding for literacy.                         
                                                           - Dr. Peggy Bennett, 2009,  I Can Sing! I Can Read!

 “Research now offers a theoretical basis for, and growing evidence of, the significant effects of learning shared between music and other measures of academic achievement. The ‘two-way interactionist’ position is that improvement in  learning in either of two disciplines—taught separately or together—suggests that one discipline catalyzes, reinforces, and deepens learning in the other.”                                 
         - Larry Scripp, Director of Research Center for Learning Through Music, New England        
           Conservatory of Music

In 2009, Montgomery County, Maryland compared three arts integration-focused schools (AIMS) to three control schools over a three-year period. They found that AIMS schools with the highest percentage of minority and low-income students reduced the reading gap by 14 percentage points and the math gap by 26 percentage points over a three-year period. In the control schools, the number of proficient students actually went down 4.5%.
        - Re-investing in Arts Education: Winning Americ's Future through Creative Schools,
               2010, President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities

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