To quote Tim Lautzenheiser, the study of music gives learners access to increased levels of
Creativity: Creativity is the source of all possibilities. We are constantly challenged to explore this area of the mind. Music opens new horizons, and new possibilities through expanded thinking. The study of music supports wonderment, imagination, appreciation, and sensitivity. Music allows us to experience creativity as an inventive thinking style.
Communication: Music is a language unto itself. Music can only be explained by music. If we do not expose our students to music, we are depriving them of an array of personal understandings that cannot be found in any other part of the school curriculum.
Critical Assessment: Intelligence is the ability to process information and respond according to the given situation. Emotional stability stems from the capacity to deal with life’s many inconsistencies. To accomplish both, the individual must be able to access the cognitive (factual) and affective (emotional) sides of the mind. Music is one of the few academic disciplines that develops this ability and reinforces learning patterns to allow for greater critical assessment.
Commitment: Success is not measured by what we start, but rather by what we complete. In music students are required to perform the entire composition from beginning to end; to complete the given task. The important qualities of tenacity and persistence establish habits for positive, productive living applicable in every situation.
Lautzenheiser adds, “As teachers, we pledge our efforts to prepare our students for what lies ahead in their personal and professional journey. In the process of preparing for a concert, sight-reading new literature, teaching a musical concept, or listening to a quality performance, we are helping our students establish thinking habits that are immediately transferable to other academic areas, and we are teaching the life-skills that will support their healthy and prosperous future.”
Adapted from Keynotes Magazine, July 2011 (www.keynotesmagazine.com) by Conn-Selmer, Inc. NAfME member Tim Lautzenheiser is a clinician, author, composer, conductor, and consultant. His company, Attitude Concepts for Today, is based in Bluffton, Indiana.
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—Ella Wilcox, August 3, 2011, © National Association for Music Education (www.nafme.org)