If you’re a parent with children in school, you’ve likely heard about something called “21st Century Skills”. It’s one of those buzzwords that are created as education is revamped and redirected. (I remember being part of the “New Math” experiment in Elementary School.)
Really, the core subjects our children need to learn hasn’t changed. But our world has changed, and we need to help our kids to be ready to meet these different challenges. Math competency is still vital for an engineering job, but employers want creativity, teamwork, critical thinking skills, accountability and adaptability. They want their employees to be self-directed and have the ability to communicate well. (Be that email, conference call, written reports or in person.)
Here’s a brief excerpt from The Partnership for 21st Century Skills:
Learning Skills: “To cope with the demands of the 21st century,” the report states, “students need to know more than core subjects. They need to know how to use their knowledge and skills-by thinking critically, applying knowledge to new situations, analyzing information, comprehending new ideas, communicating, collaborating, solving problems, and making decisions.”
I recently provided commentary during a podcast with Michael Butera, the Executive Director of MENC (Music Educator’s National Conference) about this subject.
No one denies that music holds a great attraction for us as human beings. I look to my own 11 year old, who (if I didn’t occasionally pull them out to speak to him) I fear his ear buds would grow permanently attached.
Music is a life-long endeavor. How many times did you hear someone say to their math teacher, “But when in real life am I ever going to need to calculate the collision point of two trains, one going 120 mph and the other 27 mph?” But a child who plays piano will often be found 25 years later on the floor with their own children singing and making music.
Many of you have told me that your children are geniuses. (I kid you not. I hear it all the time.) And that may be so. But there are many children who don’t burst onto the school scene shining brilliantly and there are certainly many who struggle.
But what I love about music is that everyone can participate. Students who don’t experience academic success in the classroom can often experience success in the music. Maybe for the first time they can flourish and grow.
When a child gains confidence with their music success, they take that confidence (along with the academic and critical thinking and teamwork and social skills (remember the list above?) they learned from music into all sorts of other areas of their life. Success breeds success. And research already has proven those students who are involved in music do better at math, reading, and even sports, and are less likely to drop out of school.
For you parents of genius children (I’m not making fun of you, since I have genius children of my own…), here’s some things you may want to know:
The majority of people who go into medical school are musicians. The same is true in general for students who pursue higher education. The National GPA is also higher for students who are involved in music.
Back to the main point. Music provides students the skills they need to not only succeed in school, but in life. We all want to prepare our kids to be happy, independent, successful grownups. It doesn’t matter if they become lawyers or farmers. In today’s world, the skills they need are universal. Music is a joyous way to help them reach their full potential.
Here’s the podcast in it’s entirety.
-posted by Miss Analiisa, who has always wanted to learn to play the cello, and has decided that it’s never too late to teach an old Euphonium player new tricks, so she’s going to start this fall.