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March is "Music In Our Schools Month". Why is Music Education Important?

By Joseph Fusca, ETM Instructional Supervisor

Music is the universal language. It’s an intrinsic part of life and one that connects us all – from casual listeners to instrumentalists and singers to advocates. Yet, while music permeates so many aspects of our lives, it is often lacking from one – our schools. Too many schools in New York City don’t have a music teacher or music program. This is particularly true for schools that serve more students from low-income households. When students don’t have music in school as a core subject, they lose out on life-changing learning. I currently work as an Instructional Supervisor who works to mentor and support music teachers at ETM’s partner schools, helping ensure more children have music as a key component of their education.

Music is an extremely important subject for all children to learn. Music education aids brain development, physical coordination, and emotional regulation in students. And music is fun! It can truly bring joy to students and spark their curiosity. Music helps students use their imagination, learn to listen, and find their voice. And these benefits are augmented by the fact that high-quality music programs build community in schools. When teachers, administrators and parents engage in fostering a thriving music program by attended and assisting with concerts, ensembles, and more, they create an environment where students are excited about learning.

Throughout my time at ETM, and previously as a teacher, I’ve seen first-hand the impact that music can have on students. Students who needed music as a creative outlet. Students who needed music as a time to listen and absorb. Students who needed music to feel a part of something, to feel like they belonged. This had a ripple effect on the community and at our concerts, we were packed to capacity. Music mattered. Students never asked “When are we ever gonna use this?” They used it right then and there. And when they left the music room, they took it with them out into the world.

According to NAfME, the purpose of ‘Music In Our Schools Month’ is “to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children – and to remind citizens that school is where all children should have access to music.” For a lot of us, having music in school was a given, just as having music in our lives is. But without awareness and advocacy, many children will continue to lack access to the power of music education. Music has brightened so many of our lives. By supporting, advocating, and donating to expand music’s place in schools, we can ensure more children’s lives are lifted up too.