W/R Position Paper

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Position Paper

Submitted by: Paul Brownlow

Article related to thesis project. Music boosts math skills, study finds.:

Music should be an integral part of any basic curriculum. Studies have shown music helps students score higher on math tasks requiring spatial temporal reasoning. Students at 95th Street School in South-central Los Angeles tested this theory using keyboard lessons and a computer math game. The study found that students participating in keyboard lessons and the computer game scored 100 percent better than their peers who did neither. They also scored 27 percent better than those who only studied with the computer game before taking the test (Haynes, p. 1A).

Whenever budget restraints cause schools to reduce spending, music is typically the first subject area cut to help save money. But as the study illustrates, music should be viewed as a tool for helping students score higher in the basic curriculum areas such as math and science. Music can no longer be thought of as a frill in education because there is too much evidence available demonstrating its importance to learning.

Haynes article is very clear and explains why results from the study are so valuable. The terms and logic provided by the article and study are well defined to help the reader understand the point he is making. Really, the only point Haynes is making is an accurate report of the news because that is his job as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

As a music teacher, I see the benefits of music everyday. Many of the students in my classes, are honor student material. I have had students graduating at the top of their class ever since I started teaching. Currently, research is being done to see what effect music does have on the brain. A connection has already been made in the brain about music and math. Somehow researchers have found that music and math are computed in the same regions of the brain. These connections have been made by taking PET scans of the brain while it is engaged in a musical or math lesson.

I feel the results from schools cutting music programs are long lasting and not seen by the untrained eye. Maybe more studies need to be done on schools who cut the music program from their curriculum, so school administrators can see what they are doing to the success rate of their students. Any school who wants to give their students the best opportunities should, at all costs, maintain a reputable music program for their students. This may be a challenging task, but the rewards are priceless.

Resource: Haynes, V. Dion, Music boosts math skills, study finds Duluth News-Tribune, Date Unknown, p.1A, 6A.

-- Anonymous, July 13, 1999

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