Education Funding Letter to the Editor

A Plea for Music Education and Its ‘Essential’ Benefit

September 08, 2015 2 min read

To the Editor:

Too many American school districts are dissolving their music education programs and neglecting the needs of students by redirecting their attention to other academic areas. There is no greater disservice to the millions of musically gifted students across this nation.

I am entering my senior year of high school in Florida, and as someone who plays five instruments, I am very concerned about this trend. Many public schools in my area have done away with their programs, and I hear constant stories of disappointment about this from parents and my friends who are musicians and go to these schools.

Despite my uncertainty over whether to pursue music professionally, my school’s program has taught me very valuable life lessons and has made me a better person overall. I hate to think that children are being denied this opportunity because of budget cuts and a lack of attention from policymakers and school administrations.

In an educational institution, music programs act not only as a gateway to the world of the arts, but as an opportunity to invest passion in an activity and produce quality results that reward students with pride and a sense of accomplishment. School music programs boost students’ self-esteem, cooperative abilities, leadership traits, and open-mindedness, making them well-rounded human beings. Coincidentally, being well-rounded is a major advantage in college admissions, and dedicated musicians are often accepted into high-ranking colleges and universities, even if they choose not to pursue music as a profession.

There has also been a push recently to mold students into “technical” workers, through an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in schools. It’s no secret that engineering is a job in demand. But that’s no reason to stop funding other people’s passions and talents. While STEM education is not a negative thing, programs like music, art, and the humanities as a whole are being looked down upon, and have become victims to the heavy investment in other academic areas. Music is just as essential to the nation’s future as engineering, math, athletics, or other “common core” concerns.

The neglect of music in our schools has gone on far too long. Unless change is made, children will grow up in a world that fails to ignite their talent and imagination and reach their full potential. That is a world none of us wishes to live in. It is dry. It is boring. Above all, it is silent.

Aaron Finkel

Gulliver Preparatory School

Miami, Fla.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the September 09, 2015 edition of Education Week as A Plea for Music Education and Its ‘Essential’ Benefit


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
Schools are working through the most disruptive period in the history of modern education, facing a pandemic, economic problems, social justice issues, and rapid technological change all at once. But even after the pandemic ends,

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Schools Can Help Families Apply for Federal Help in Paying for Home Internet Access
Families who qualify for the free and reduced-price lunch program can get $50 off their monthly broadband bills.
2 min read
Image of a child's hand on a keyboard.
Education Funding Miguel Cardona's First Budget Hearing Becomes Forum on In-Person Learning, 1619 Project
In his first public testimony to Congress as education secretary, Cardona also touched on standardized testing and student discipline.
6 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, right, talks to 12th grade art student Madri Mazo at White Plains High School in White Plains, N.Y. on April 22, 2021.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, left, talks to 12th grade art student Eugene Coleman at White Plains High School in White Plains, N.Y. in April.
Mark Lennihan/AP
Education Funding States Are Waffling Over Billions in K-12 Federal Relief. Schools Are Getting Antsy.
Schools in some states have already started spending money from recent federal stimulus packages. Others don’t yet have the dollars in hand.
6 min read
Conceptual image of money dropping into a jar.
Education Funding Opinion The COVID-19 Stimulus Money Won’t Last Forever. Here’s What's Next for Schools
There are three important first steps for states to start helping schools prepare now, write two policy experts.
Zahava Stadler & Victoria Jackson
5 min read
a group of people water a lightbulb plant, nurturing an idea
iStock/Getty Images