March has been traditionally designated as Music in Education Month. So this month, I would like to address the importance of a Fine Arts Education in our New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District.
As the money crunch suffocates school district budgets, as tax caps and underfunded mandates eat away at tax dollar supported programs, districts across the state and our country are obliterating their music, art and drama programs and cutting them completely. Our administration and board of education are firmly committed to preserving the arts in our schools. For many of our students, music, art and performing are their major pathway and learning style for approaching, understanding, and mastering content from other subject
For our district, we set a high premium on the arts. We can see the inherent benefits of a child’s face light up when they are performing in a concert or watch them break into a large smile when an art show patron marvels at the magnificent use of depth, color blending or perspective, which they have demonstrated in their creation of a piece of art.
Studies abound in terms of the benefits that the arts play in the education of our students. We can clearly see that students’ self-esteem is developed and their focus is sharpened. They become more motivated and self-assured and apply many of the English Language Arts and Mathematics Common Core Standards through their work in the arts.
I would like to highlight a number of research studies that confirm the importance of our district in supporting the arts:
• A 2002 report by the Arts Education Partnership revealed that children participating in music, art, drama and dance are more proficient at reading, writing and math.
• The 2006 Guggenheim Museum Study on Art Education showed that students involved in art programs learned critical thinking skills while talking about art which transferred to understanding and analyzing literary materials.
• A 2011 study called “Reinvesting in Arts Education” found that integrating arts with other subjects helped raised achievement levels and fostered the learning process. Playing an instrument helped to improve math skills.
• In Neuro-education: Learning, Arts and the Brain, John Hopkins researchers shared findings showing that arts education can help rewire the brain in positive ways. Students undertaking regular music training had changes in their brain structure helping them transfer motor skills to similar areas.
• A Texas study showed that children who are actively involved in music programs are better equipped to make better lifestyle choices since they have a strong foundational knowledge of their abilities, as well as, a greater self-esteem due to their well-rounded education.
• Finally from the Nature Neuroscience 2007, the elementary school study proved that students in top-quality music programs scored 22 percent better in English and 20 percent better in mathematics than students in deficient music programs. The district offers an outstanding music and visual arts program by our dedicated teaching staff which results in creative expression and outstanding art shows and wonderfully entertaining concerts.
Let’s all celebrate and preserve the arts in education.