Monday, January 9, 2012

MUSIC Monday: Please sing me your autograph! – Part 2 of 3

Written by Daryl Allison

You remember sitting in the car listening to the radio, making mix tapes of your favorite bands, maybe a special one for your high school sweetheart. Today’s kids aren’t any different in their love for music. More have been moved at some point in their lives by a piece of music they listtened to than a game they watched.

How many families are heading out for a local, free concert in the park? How many kids can grab an instrument and go jam in the backyard with Dad?

We encourage our kids into Little League Baseball. High school football gets segments on local sports news. College football and basketball are huge industries. None of these are professions. They are all parts of our kids growth and education. Yes, being active is important in health. There are plenty of studies that show healthy competition, the discipline of sports, structure of teams, all these facets of sports benefits our children. There are an equal number of studies that show the benefits that music education has on learning as a whole. I could list plenty of those studies, but instead I’m going to share with you this quote that I love from Nina Kraus, a prominent brain researcher at Northwestern University, “Music training leads to changes throughout the auditory system that prime musicians for listening challenges beyond music processing…music training does for brain fitness what exercise does for body fitness.”

With how we push and promote our kids into sports, surely we care about their minds as much as their bodies, right? Where’s the encouragement for kids to register for their seasonal, organized jam sessions? Where’s the local media covering the local amateur bands every Friday night? Where’s the March Madness Battle of the Bands?

Did you know over one billion dollars are given out in athletic scholarships every year? The average athletic scholarship exceeds $10,000. The average music scholarship is in the neighborhood of 20% of that total, with far fewer of them awarded. College is the highest level of education. Every family wants their children to go. Our system says playing sports is the smart choice, that being an athlete makes college more likely an affordable option, yet it’s music that makes college more likely to be an option in the first place.

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