Music Education Linked to Academic and Income Success
Parents who consult with me are generally focused on helping their children with language and reading skills. Often though, in the course of conversation, they say something like, "By the way, my son, or daughter, is quite good at music but wants to stop the lessons. What should I do?"
As with all questions of teaching and learning, the answers are not simple. Still, all other things being equal, my advice is generally to have the lessons continue. One of my deeply held beliefs is that the development of skills--in all areas--has enormous payoff for a person over the course of his or her life. Many times, students have come back to me to tell me how pleased they are that they did continue--because as adults, they find great pleasure in music and in the competence they have in this realm.
Now, via a recent Harris Poll of 2,565 adults, there is evidence to support what I have been encouraging. The study showed that whether it's chorus, band or violin lessons, music impacts Americans' lives in many positive ways.
Music education is associated with those who go on to higher education. For example, for those with
a high school education or less approximately two-thirds (65 percent) participated in music;
some college education, the comparable figure was 81 percent
a college education,.the figure was 86 percent
post graduate education, the numbers went up to 88 percent.
Music education is also associated with higher incomes. For example, for those with incomes of $50,000 or less, approximately a bit more than 70 percent participated in music compared to 83 percent for those with incomes of $150,000.
There is, of course, no simple one-to-one relationship here. Limited money and time certainly cut off the opportunities and so even though there is the desire to learn, it is not available. And certainly, for those who elect music as their profession soon find that money is hard to come by--so the training certainly does not pay off from that perspective. But as these results suggest, music is a fabulous area of human endeavor and it's wonderful to see that its benefits may be even more wide ranging than we might have suspected.