I left the band world 7 years ago for the opportunity to become a principal. I wanted to help teachers so they could help their students. It wasn't long that my “musical itch” took me back to the performing arts in the schools. I visited music classrooms and participated in the musical activities with the kids. Even in lower elementary, my kids loved their musical experience. Our Sudduth Elementary students enjoyed expressing their creativity through song, dance, and instruments. Since moving to the middle school as an assistant principal, I have a stronger opinion about music in schools. I have gotten the opportunity to see my students grow and express their musical talent. Having a musical experience during the school day allows them to truly express their talent. From the elementary school to the middle school and even into the high school, I have seen students experience several benefits from having music, even art and drama, in their daily school routine. Music in the schools builds a sense of personal achievement, teachers discipline, and builds teamwork.
My best example would be a sense of achievement. Learning how to play a new instrument or even a new piece of music can be challenging. However, students who master even the smallest goal in music will be able to feel proud of their achievement. To me, there is nothing better than seeing a kid's face light up after his first concert or an elementary student learn a brand new song and perform it for his teacher.
Another example would be that music can teach discipline to students. Playing an instrument or singing will take practice, practice, practice. Students will have to set aside time to practice and rise to the challenge to master playing their instrument. Even now, my sixth grade students are successful beginning band students because of their discipline in the elementary music programs. I've seen several of my band students go on to become very successful in the work force. When you ask them how they got there, they usually fall back to their band days when they practiced and rehearsed to get the very best out of their show.
To me teamwork is an excellent example how music can benefit a student. Just like in sports, it takes all individuals to come together with a common goal and compete on the court or on the field. Music is no different. There are several musical programs, band, orchestra, and choir that require students to work together and combine their musical talents towards a performance.
There are many more benefits to having music to complete the educational day. But my final example would be that music builds better self-confidence. Performing a musical piece can bring fear and anxiety. Doing so teaches kids how to take risks and deal with fear. Taking risks helps them to realize their potential and become successful. That builds better self-confidence. I have noticed students, both elementary, middle, and high school, blossom over the years because of having a positive musical experience. They have more pride and confidence about who they are as a person, both inside and outside.