I walked nervously down a dark, damp, crowded corridor. Condensation, like a light but steady rainfall, dripped from the poorly maintained air conditioning system high above in the ill lit hall way. Unfamiliar faces gazed in my direction with zombie-like indifference as I brushed shoulders, making my way slowly to the Ramsay High School gymnasium. By the time I finally reached the gym, my sense of self assuredness was shaken, and my worldview, although I was unaware of it at the time, was quickly making perhaps not a U-turn, but at the very least a sharp right.
Ramsay High School was like nothing I had ever seen before. The hallways were dark and crowded, as were the classrooms. The library was small and insufficient to say the least. The computer lab had a total of ten outdated, prehistoric-looking computers, the type one expects to find at yard sales for twenty dollars. This bank of computers represented the school's entire stock. Later that night, as I was warming up with the rest of my basketball team, preparing to face off against the Ramsay Rams, I noticed something was missing from the pregame ritual: music. Ramsay did not have a pep band.
[...] Frances Rauscher outlined a study in which students that were given a music education were compared to students who took the same classes from the same teachers without a musical education. Dr. Rauscher found that the students who were given keyboard lessons had spatial-temporal IQ's that were on average thirty five percent greater than the children who received no music training Furthermore, after eight months the students were again tested. Children receiving music education showed an improvement in test scores of forty six percent, while students not receiving music education improved by only six percent As Dr. [...]
[...] Glenn Schellenberg, PhD, says that there is a “dose-response” correlation to music and intelligence: the longer a person takes lessons, the greater growth in I.Q. scores (Munsey). These studies have found that a musical education early in life can lead to a better development of cognitive abilities that help a student think critically, problem solve, and develop creative ideas. In whole the study found childhood music education to be a “significant predictor of a higher IQ in young adulthood and a history of better high school grades” and found positive association between music lessons and higher school grades and higher scores on achievement testing in mathematics, spelling and reading” (Munsey). [...]
[...] school also boasted a large and accomplished music program, with a marching band, jazz ensemble, pep band, and even private lessons for guitar and other instruments. I couldn't help but wonder to myself why my school was so much nicer than Ramsay, but I couldn't think of an answer that satisfied my curiosity. I would like to say that my experience at Ramsay was an isolated one, but unfortunately as I began to represent my suburban school on the basketball floor against many of the Birmingham city schools, I learned that schools like Ramsay were unfortunately the rule, not the exception. [...]
[...] Without a music education program, students may miss out on this vital step in learning social behavior, and the absence of a social education in teamwork can result in violent or hostile behavior that will ultimately be viewed in the business world as counter-productive to a company or organization. Also, a music education gives children an extracurricular outlet on which to spend their time. This is especially important for teenagers in at-risk neighborhoods, who may be lured in by gangs and friends into criminal behavior during their free time after school. [...]
[...] While it is perhaps unreasonable that public schools require students to spend so much time on the arts on a daily basis, it is not unreasonable to argue that every student that attends a public school in this wealthy nation should at least have the opportunity to participate in the musical arts if he or she chooses to do so, and the merits of participating in such a program are without question. A large problem, however, is that although the United States is vastly wealthy, that wealth is spread quite disproportionately. [...]
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