Yes, STEM. You read that right! The education of students primarily focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
So how could Music education even fit in here? These subjects have nothing to do with music. Music and the arts have been viewed as recreational and less important in students’ learning.
You might not think that it makes sense to have music included when it comes to the subjects of Math and Science. Therefore, music education is very undervalued, and on the verge of extinction in many schools, since it has not been recognized as necessary for learning. However, it shouldn’t be, because it does greatly benefit any student, including students of STEM programs.
Because musically educated students gain advantages that can be applied to many other areas of learning and life, it is worth including music education within a STEM student’s curriculum. In fact, there is even a correlation between the two that reinforces why STEM should consistently include music education as part of a child’s studies in a permanent fashion.
Increasing Attention and Strengthening Memory Recall
One of the main focuses that music education has on students is increased brain function. Simply listening to music doesn’t create this effect, students actually need to be learning about music by possibly taking voice lessons or learning a musical instrument.
Brain function namely happens in the areas of memory recall, because when you learn music you have to memorize things like notes and lyrics. This can be helpful for STEM students, as attention and memory recall can improve understanding of scientific theory or equations. STEM students who take musical education can more easily memorize facts and figures.
There is a Logical Thought Process
Music education requires students to understand a set of rules, logic, and practice of abstract thinking. This directly correlates to the areas of math and science, and even difficult mathematical concepts can be conveyed through the use of music. According to the National Association for Music Education, students who have a music background have been shown to score an average of 44 points higher on their math SAT. On an academic level, students with years of experience studying music in some form average higher academically than those students without a musical background, so it’s not limited to just math on its own.
Educators have already come up with some innovative ways to enhance students’ STEM skills through the benefits of music education. For example, researchers at San Francisco State University have developed a program called Academic Music, which uses music notation to teach fractions to third graders.
Freedom of Expression
One of the wonderful things about music as an art form is that it gives students the ability to be freely expressive and creative, which improves emotional intelligence and social skills, or the ability for students to identify emotions and improve mental health.
Though this can benefit students in many ways outside of academics, this can also be a great way to learn teamwork and socialization within groups. This will be an incredibly useful skill for STEM studies when collaborating with a lab partner in a science class or when needing to cross-functionally communicate across different areas on an engineering project. Even though STEM studies do focus on facts and evidence, it is important to have bold thinkers that can be innovative and creative – and with musical studies, students are given that freedom. Taking risks to find new outcomes is encouraged.
Tiffany Getty of Wilkes University is part of a group called VOICES, which stands for Virtual Ongoing Interdisciplinary Collaborations on Educating with Song. Their 2019 conference demonstrated STEM/music educational strategies in a way to try and save the arts. Getty is motivated by the notion of music education and the way it complements STEM so that alternative learning strategies are being recognized and explored.
Tangible Activities And Ways To Provide Music Education
With this new breakthrough in combining STEM and music to engage, encourage, and expand students’ minds, it should be no surprise that STEM students can benefit from taking music lessons. While STEM education is so important, there are unique benefits for supplementing this type of education with the arts.
So how can you help students of STEM to incorporate music education? There are many avenues to do this, but some of the easiest and most accessible ways to start now are listed below:
- Online Music Lessons – Wonderful private tutors that can teach students online, such as Music to Your Home’s online lessons, are a fantastic way for students to study music in the comforts of home, and there are many different instruments and/or voice classes to choose from. And what better way to help students learn music than by a trusted and classically trained professional in the industry?
- Community Musical Theater – Chances are there is a community arts group within your location somewhere, so it’s worth exploring to have students engage in local workshops or even participate in a musical, where they will learn teamwork and social skills while flexing their creativity and expression in performing arts.
- Music Theory Websites – There are many out there to choose from that can help with music education at home. A great option is Classics for Kids, as it is an easy-to-navigate site that can teach students musical terms, how to match rhythm, and even to compose music on their own – and it’s free!
- Phone Apps – There are various options to choose from here as well to help provide students with musical education. Some great applications to explore are EarMaster, MuseScore, and Music Tutor.
Though it can seem a trivial subject, musical education can be hugely beneficial in supplementing a student’s STEM studies. With the advances that educators are making in incorporating music with STEM, and with universities acknowledging that music is a great way to educate in Math, there is a vast need for music education to stay alive and consistent with students. This additional area of learning should not fall by the wayside. Hopefully, we can continue to understand, acquire, and develop these benefits to allow STEM students a brighter future.
Guest Post by Donna Maurer
The benefits of Music Education for STEM Students- a post by Donna Maurer highlighting the amazing ways music can be an encouraging supplement for our young engineers.