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Music plays a vital role in our society and the foundation of culture. It serves an equally vital and expansive role in education. This is why it is so important to prioritize a basic musical understanding at all school levels.
A background in music doesn’t come from just chorus or band and isn’t only attainable in younger grade levels. Stephen Decatur High School offers elective classes like American Popular Music, where you learn about artists from the 1940s to the present day.
“Music has always been able to help other subject areas,” said Joann Harvey, a long-term substitute who is filling in for SDHS staff member Christine Bradford in teaching American Pop here at Decatur.
Imagine history without war songs or national anthems. Imagine English without poems or melodic connection, or math class without those beats you learned to count in music class and those funny songs to help you remember Pi.
A understanding of music can help you in all subject areas and vice-versa. Having background knowledge about this subject serves as a lifelong benefit, in and outside of school walls. In fact, students who participate or are highly-engaged in music in their lives are likely to score high on exams across all subjects, according to the American Psychological Association.
You are also more likely to appreciate something when you have a deeper understanding of it. An understanding of musical composition or instrumentation can give you a deeper appreciation for the songs you are listening to or performances you are watching.
Music also creates and helps facilitate interpersonal connections. It creates common ground and encourages communication. Music is especially important for younger students.
“In kindergarten, they get that – being able to interact with each other, and walk to a beat, and learn the different instruments,” Harvey said.
It’s important for students to take music, but equally important for that music class to be something they are interested in. More music classes need to be offered such as specific instruments and area focused subjects so students can receive the full benefit of the curriculum.
“It’s a life long experience because what they learn in class they can take with them,” Harvey said.