Music City Finds Music Class Helps Students, Echoing National Trend

Metro Nashville Public Schools has been adding "contemporary curriculum" as part of the Music Makes Us program, including bluegrass, songwriting, mariachi and hip hop. Credit: Music Makes Us

Metro Nashville Public Schools has been adding “contemporary curriculum” as part of the Music Makes Us program, including bluegrass, songwriting, mariachi and hip hop. Credit: Music Makes Us

Students in Metro Schools who take even one year of music are more likely to graduate and do better on college entrance exams than those who take no music class. That’s according to a study released Friday and commissioned by philanthropists who want increased funding for music education in Nashville.

Laurie Schell, who advocates for music education in the district, says the study confirms what many teachers already believe. And it’s not suggesting mandatory music classes would make everyone smarter.

“It’s not just, ‘here’s a trumpet. Go make an ‘A’ on your math test.’”

But Schell says the study does provide evidence that music makes an academic difference, at least for those who choose to participate.

“I think policy makers believe that the arts are beneficial. But when it comes to budget time, it doesn’t always translate.”

And while there are many studies showing links between music education and academic performance, Schell says it may carry more weight when the study is based on the district’s own students.

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