Bringing Music to Our Schools: AMI Mini Campus for Public/Private Schools
By Kaitlin Fron, AMI Voice Teacher & Program Coordinator
With the start of Music In Our Schools Month, educators and legislators are once again discussing the importance of having a music program as part of traditional education. In most schools, music is seen as an elective rather than a part of core academic curriculum if it is even offered at all. Some schools no longer have music teachers or programs, as music and other electives have been first on the chopping block when budget cuts require downsizing. Neryl Jeanneret notes that “It is interesting that even where there are specialist music teachers in primary schools, other concerns surface. For example, the specialist only sees a group of children, perhaps, once a week, for a short period and music is seen as isolated from the general curriculum as the generalist teacher frequently passes total responsibility for music to the specialist (Askew, 1993)” (Jeanneret, 93). It is strange that music should have such a lack of emphasis in educational settings, especially given the tremendous amount of research which supports the positive influence of musical study on students’ abilities to excel in “core” subjects like mathematics and language arts. In a country where educational resources are limited, what can we do?
At American Music Institute, we want music to be a part of every child’s education. That’s why we have our Mini Campus Program. AMI Mini Campus enables our faculty to work with area schools to create or supplement music programs, according to the needs of the school. We can teach it all- from the basics like Music Appreciation, Orchestra, Choir, and Band to more specialized courses like Genre studies (Jazz, Classical, Broadway), Music Theory, Music History, or Private Lessons on campus. For schools with existing music programs, we can create clinics and workshops to give students a chance to work with our professional faculty members. This program is tailored to each school community and can offer courses during school hours or as part of an After School Care program. Our Mini Campus Program is important to us because it provides an opportunity for communities to come together to support arts education and to enhance the educational opportunities of area students regardless of what cuts the school systems have to make.
Music in schools means that students have an opportunity to practice learning in a way that engages all learning styles and requires physical and mental coordination. When your child studies music regularly, he or she will experience benefits in many other subjects.
Music and Math: It may seem strange to compare performance art to mathematics, but music is very mathematical! Musical compositions are divided into measures by number of beats, so students learn to count and group beats from the onset of their musical education. Kathryn Vaughn asserts that since music improves spatial-temporal reasoning, it also improves student comprehension of mathematical processes which require the same type of reasoning (Vaughn, 149). Her evaluation of many studies and experiments on the correlation between music education and mathematical performance found that the best improvements came from the addition of musical education to a mathematical education built on similar spatial-temporal reasoning concepts (Vaughn, 158). This means that ideally, math and music teachers can work together to create lesson plans that will enable the best student success.
Music and Language Arts (and Foreign Language): The correlation between music and language arts is more readily seen since both subjects fall under the broader category of “Humanities” or “Arts.” While the structure of music is inherently mathematical, it also mirrors language in the use of larger forms and phrases. Janet D. Harris states that “The cause of some reading problems may be due to a deficiency which affects not only the child’s reading, but his other work as well. There are many areas in which activities used in music and reading can prove invaluable to both” (Harris, 29). She discusses the benefits of Ear Training (pitch matching and phrase memory) in improving a child’s ability to learn language patterns and sounds and notes that learning music requires the development of reasoning skills which improve the ability to comprehend and evaluate language when reading (Harris, 30). Learning to read and understand musical phrases facilitates learning to read and the ability to comprehend grammatical phrases.
Musical study also carries benefits to historical and scientific education built on the benefits already discussed, making it a critical part of regular education. With so many extracurricular activity choices, it helps to have music as a part of standard curriculum, whether during or after school hours. AMI is proud to help make this opportunity accessible to as many schools as possible. How can you guarantee consistent music education at your school?
The best way to make your voice heard at your school is to be active in attending PTA meetings and to talk with your teachers. Introduce your PTA organization, music teacher, and principal to the AMI Mini Campus Program and encourage your school’s participation. Invite your AMI teacher to your music class with your school music teacher’s permission. Talk to your friends and family about how music education has improved your child’s learning experience. Help your child to create his or her own experiment or study on the benefits of learning music for their next science fair. We make a difference when we speak up and celebrate successes!
We wish you a wonderful and eventful Music In Our Schools Month.
Jeanneret, Neryl. The National Review of Music in Schools and the Endless Debate about Music in Primary Schools [online]. Australian Journal of Music Education, No. 1, 2006: 93-97. Availability: ISSN: 0004-9484. [cited 06 Mar 17].
Music and Mathematics: Modest Support for the Oft-Claimed Relationship
Kathryn Vaughn The Journal of Aesthetic Education Vol. 34, No. 3/4, Special Issue: The Arts and Academic Achievement: What the Evidence Shows (Autumn – Winter, 2000), pp. 149-166
Music and Language Reading
Janet D. Harris Music Educators Journal
Vol. 34, No. 2 (Nov. – Dec., 1947), pp. 29-30