Music Education and the Musical Caravan

Music Education and the Musical Caravan                       

On the eve of launching our Musical Caravan Project, in which the HFO will be bringing music to the students in their schools, I have been looking into the latest on music and the arts in education. 

 Honestly, I am amazed. 

 By now there is such a huge body of research and statistics demonstrating the profoundly positive effects of arts education, that  everyone should be demanding that it be increased, restored, or if need be newly established in  their children’s schooling. 

 The benefits for the growing mind are proven by measurement of all aspects of child development.

Arts education

  • Expands and enhances thinking skills
  • Develops creativity in problem-solving
  • Improves test performance in all subjects
  • Has positive effects on social interaction
  • Increases the level of success in adult life after schooling
  • Raises income levels of students and their families

The evidence is so strong that arguing for music and arts education in school seems just about as obvious as saying that the sun rises in the East.

 But here it is: Educating school students in music is good for them, good for us, good for the economy, good for our  country, and good for the world.

 Here are a few supporting statements and facts.

 Data show that high earnings are not just associated with people who have high technical skills. In fact, mastery of the arts and humanities is just as closely correlated with high earnings.

Tough Choices or Tough Times: The report of the new Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, 2007

 “When I hear people asking how we fix the education system, I tell them we need to do the opposite of what is happening, cutting budgets by cutting music programs…. Nothing could be stupider than removing the ability for the left and right brains to function. Ask a CEO what they are looking for in an employee and they say they need people who understand teamwork, people who are disciplined, people who understand the big picture. You know what they need? They need musicians.”

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, 2007

 Students in high-quality school music programs score higher on standardized tests compared to students in schools with deficient music education programs, regardless of the socioeconomic level of the school or school district.

Christopher M. Johnson and Jenny E. Memmott, Journal of Research in Music Education, 2006

 Schools with music programs have significantly higher graduation rates than do those without programs (90.2% as compared to 72.9%).

Harris Interactive poll of high school principals, 2006

 Students of music continue to outperform their non-arts peers on the SAT, according to reports by the College Entrance Examination Board.

The College Board, Profile of College-Bound Seniors National Report for 2006

 Nearly 100% of past winners in the prestigious Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology (for high school students) play one or more musical instruments.

The Midland Chemist (American Chemical Society) Vol. 42, No.1, Feb. 2005

 Children with music training had significantly better verbal memory than those without such training, and the longer the training, the better the verbal memory.

Summary of paper by Ho, Y. C., Cheung, M. C., & Chan, in Neuropsychology, 2003

 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.

Dr. Laurel Trainor, Prof. of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour at McMaster University, 2006

 “Music is one way for young people to connect with themselves, but it is also a bridge for connecting with others. Through music, we can introduce children to the richness and diversity of the human family and to the myriad rhythms of life.”

Daniel A. Carp, Eastman Kodak Company Chairman and CEO.

 “…Children are among those that benefit most from music and the arts. The study of music can greatly enhance a child’s analytical skills, interest in school, creativity, discipline, and self-esteem. Moreover, music education programs can also offer at-risk youth life-saving alternatives. Music motivates children by stimulating their imaginations and increasing their confidence. It is no surprise that numerous studies have linked music education with increased academic achievement…”

– U.S. Senator Paul S. Sarbanes

 “The life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of the nation, is close to the center of a nation’s purpose – and is a test to the quality of a nation’s civilization.”

President John F. Kennedy


An article on the Benefits of Music Education can be found at:


I am looking forward to bringing our music to the schools!


David Commanday

Artistic Director/Conductor

Heartland Festival Orchestra




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