Education Through Music:
Benefits for Students, Teachers, and School Communities
Since 2004, Philliber Research Associates (PRA) has conducted evaluations of the outcomes of Education Through Music (ETM) programming for students, teachers, and their school communities as a whole. Overall, evaluations have concluded that students participating in ETM show significant gains in academic performance, musical skills, self-esteem, and the ability to pay attention and focus. In addition, ETM supports classroom teachers and teaching artists in incorporating music into other academic areas. Finally, ETM supports improvement in parent involvement and community interest at participating schools. Highlights of ETM evaluations through 2006 are summarized below.
- PRA evaluators analyzed changes in standardized test scores at ETM schools in comparison to similar schools that have not participated in ETM. In examining the percentages of students who perform at satisfactory levels in English Language Arts and Math, it was found that, on average, students at ETM schools showed more improvement, over periods of three to seven years, in both English and Math as compared to students at similar (comparison) schools.
- On fall and spring surveys, principals and classroom teachers consistently report that ETM improves students' abilities to pay attention and focus. They also tend to agree that ETM gives students skills that can be applied in other academic areas, particularly in Math and Literacy.
Musical Skills Attainment
- Each year, students participating in ETM show significant average increases in tests of their musical skills. Students show significant improvement in such areas as rhythm, listening, ensemble, vocal development, and other elements of music.
- Classroom teachers overwhelmingly agree that their students learn and achieve in music. They also agree that music class is a fun experience for their students.
- Parents/guardians report that their children talk about ETM music classes at home; about their instruments and the songs they are learning; and about how they enjoy music class.
Improvements in Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence
- Principals and classroom teachers consistently agree that ETM supports improvement in students' self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Most parents/guardians agree that ETM music classes and their children's musical performances help their children feel better about themselves. Specifically, parents have commented that their children are more self-confident, less shy in front of others, and/or are happier or more enthusiastic.
- Parents also tend to agree that music classes help their children learn something about social skills, manners, or getting along with others.
Improvements in Instruction and Parent Involvement
- Principals report that, as a result of ETM training and professional development, teaching artists and music teachers incorporate overall instructional goals into their music classrooms.
- The majority of academic teachers at ETM schools report using music and the other arts to enrich instructional lessons in their classrooms.
- Principals report positive impacts of ETM on students' parents, and most notice impacts on the community's involvement in the school. Comments from principals on overall ETM impact include the following:
Our partnership with ETM has increased parent involvement since they come to holiday and spring concerts. The shows help to lift the morale of both students and staff.
ETM has helped in building capacity within the school. ETM gives us the feeling of community and helps to enrich the arts program for all students.
The primary strength [of our partnership with ETM is that it] brings the arts into our school by providing formalized music instruction for all students. The professional development provided by ETM helps to heighten the awareness of staff as to how the incorporation of music into the disciplines helps to improve not only the students' self-esteem, but their achievement levels as well.