Education Should Be a Requirement for Students
are many benefits of music, especially for the students that start growing up
to learn, to experience something new and to start growing the self-esteem of
themselves. Due to the many benefits of the music to the student, it arises few
arguments regarding implementing the music in the educational system. Should
the music education implement as early in primary schools? Does music education
will give positive impacts to the students? It is necessary for schools set a music
as a required subject? Usually the music subject is an optional subject for
students to learn, even, sometimes, some schools not teaching the music subject
It has been revealed by Keene
(2009), music education started in the United States and it was starting the
first step in 1607 by colonial from England. However, the singing school, which
was music based education first established in Boston around 1700 and started
spreading widely to several regions. From there, the music education started taking
a step in the private schools as curricular subject. Until now the music
education is still implemented as a curricular subject in schools, however, not
all schools implements it as requirement subject. Based on the survey conducted
by the National Association of Music Merchant (NAMM) Foundation (2015), some
parents and teachers insist that the music subject should not be as an
extracurricular activity where the students have an option to cut off the
subject if they feel that it is tough for them to learn. The parents and
teachers also agreed that it should be part of essential subject in school. It
described that the parents and teachers agreed that music education is a
crucial subject as other subjects in schools. Founded result from a study by
the NAMM Foundation (2015), “63% of teachers and 57% of parents believe that
music education should start as early as in the middle schools.” It shows that
half of parents and teachers agreed to implement music education as soon as the
students enter into the education system. Besides that, in the survey by the
NAMM Foundation stated that 87% teachers and 81% parents believed that the
children should start playing musical instrumental whenever they enter into
elementary schools. It indicates that most of the parents and teachers believed
that the benefits of the music to the children is more important as they do not
see that music education is something luxurious and they willing to cut another
program rather than the music education program. However, not many schools in
Malaysia implement the music education system. Most of the schools that
practiced this system usually are private schools, for examples are
International Schools in Kuala Lumpur (Schippers, 2010) and English school in
1800 (Yong, 2003). This is because, most people in Malaysia lack of awareness
of the benefits of music education to students. Therefore, through careful
study, the music education should be a requirement for students as it can increase
the self-esteem of the students, enhance memory performance and develop
creative capacities for their lifelong success.
The music education has been
introduced to the children as early as in the middle and primary schools in USA
(Kenee, 2009), however, did we realize that why some people encouraged to
introduce the music education to children as they enter into an education system?
Does it just to promote relaxation of mind and soul to students? Not so many
people realized that music can give more benefits in life other than relaxation
of soul and mind. According to Dixon, Zhang, & Conrad, (2009), “music has
been linked to increases in self-esteem for diverse students.” Therefore, music
also can help students in improving the self-esteem of themselves. In some
schools in Malaysia, they have been incorporated the music into the school’s
curriculum, but it was not a required course for every student. Hence, it should be practiced as required
course in schools as one of the ways to help students in enhancing their
self-esteem. Although, in the research Hill Strategies (2010), showed that in
Canada, 24% of schools did not agreed of implementing music education in
schools due to timetable pressure and 26% because of funding, 76% of
respondents believed that music education will build student’s self-esteem and
confidence while 74% of them believed it can help in improving student’s discipline.
Having high self-esteem is one of chances for the students to success in
outside or inside the schools.
How music education would help in
improving student’s self-esteem? Culp (2015) discussed how music education can
help improving self-esteem, based on her research the self-esteem can be built
through activities in classrooms where students have to communicate with each
other to follow the instruction for the group or individual in playing
instrumental music in class. Through that activity, students generally improve
their confidence level in approaching other people, even in class they must
approach their friends and teacher to get know how to play that instrument
correctly. What has been concerned is many students have low self-esteem that
always puts them in negativity all the time. Therefore, the music education
will help them to be positive in whatever they do since it is very important
for human beings. As stated by Reasoner (2010), “Students with low self-esteem
have an increased risk for suicide, depression, inaction, stress, difficulty
maintaining friendships, drug and alcohol abuse, crime, violence, school
failure, and teen pregnancy.” Thus, it is very dangerous, especially for
students because this is the time they grow to build their personalities and a
starting for them to be a successful person. By having the risk of social
problems that keep increasing, the music education can be one of the keys to
grow their self-esteem. This is to avoid and decrease these problems among the
Surrency (2010) mentioned that,
students who involved in instrumental program will have high self-esteem when
they experienced in demonstrating their abilities in music and it directly
cultivates the positive self-esteem of the students, where they believed that
they can achieve their goals in making the performance success. Besides that,
with high self-esteem that mentioned in the article also stated that it makes
the students be more discipline because when the students have been fulfilled
by music class there will be less violence in schools that decrease the
discipline cases. Therefore, it logically helps the teachers in building
positive self-esteem of the students when they are outside the class,
indirectly the self-esteem that they learn from experienced in music class will
help them in being a leader, a dedicated person who are eager to achieve the
main goal and be more discipline.
By implementing music as one of the
requirement subject at school it can develop creative capacities of the student
for their lifelong success. Costa & Kallick (2000) stated that “engagement,
persistence, and creativity are 3 major components of higher-level thinking and
complex problem solving.” From here we can see how music education nourishes
these habits of mind that are essential for success in today’s global,
knowledge-based economy as it sharpens student attentiveness. The ability of
the student to pay attention requires visual focuses, active listening and
staying on task. These requirements are essential to school performance and to
gain such ability it begins to develop early in life and is continuously
refined. Via exposing students in kindergarten/primary school with music
education and make the music subject as one of the requirement subject later in
primary as well as in the university it can benefit the student as Neville et
al (2008) found that as “we begin to train one in learning the instrumental
music as they are in early childhood it can improve attention abilities, while
continued music education throughout adolescence reinforces and strengthens
them.” Thus, being attentive is an essential building block of engagement and a
competency necessary for success in school and the workforce.
Besides that, by educating students
with music it strengthens perseverance. “Perseverance is a
continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or
opposition” (Merriam Webster, 2017). Apart of enabling students to become focused on the task,
through music education, the students will also build themselves as a
persistent person to face any challenges and this can be developed and
strengthened through music education. A study conducted by Waller (2007) found
that student with music education has more perseverance traits than student
with non-musical education. Furthermore, according to Scott (1992) “motivation,
commitment and persistence are the foundation of perseverance and these all are
traits of creative individuals.”
On the other hand, through music
education it can equip students to be creative. In today’s world, having
knowledge is just not enough, people need to know how to apply that knowledge
and from the application of the knowledge people are striving to be creative
and at the same time nurtures their originality and flexibility. Study found
that, “employers identify creativity as one of the top five skills important
for success in the workforce” (Lichtenberg, Woock, & Wright, 2008). From
here we can see how creativity is crucial for one’s success and through music
education, it helps develop originality and flexibility, which are key
components of creativity and innovation. Craft (2001) found that “graduates
from music programs report that creativity, teamwork, communication, and
critical thinking are skills and competencies necessary in their work,
regardless of whether they are working in music or in other fields” similarly
as study conducted by SNAAP (2010).
In addition, music education can
support better for study habits as according to Chesky et al (1997), a study of
music majors found that “they felt more prepared for success in college than
non-music majors.” This readiness may be due to the music majors’ discipline
and focus developed via intense practice and performance routines prior to
college. These habits are typical of music students and may generalize to other
academic areas and social/emotional aspects of life, contributing to higher
self-esteem and success. Therefore, music education enables student to develop
creative capacities for their lifelong success by being focused on what they
do, persistence as well as be more creative by being original and flexible.
By having music skill, whether the
ability to read the music or play the instrument of the music it can also
enhance student’s memory performance. Memory as cited by Sternberg &
Sternberg (2012) “is how we retain and draw on our past experiences to use that
information in the present” (Tulving, 2000b; Tulving & Craik, 2000). As a
process, memory refers to “the dynamic mechanisms associated with storing,
retaining, and retrieving information about the experience” (Bjorklund,
Schneider, & Hernández Blasi, 2003; Crowder, 1976). Specifically, cognitive
psychologists have identified “three common operations of memory: encoding,
storage, and retrieval” (Baddeley, 2002; Brebion, 2007; Brown & Craik,
2000). Each operation represents a stage in memory process. Human capabilities
for encoding, storing and retrieving the information has become one the main
concern of cognitivist to study about and there have been lots of research in
regard to memory.
researches have been conducted by cognitivist in relation on how does music
affect memory and according to Fassbender et al. (2012), “music does have an
effect on memory.” On the other hand, Palmer and Caroline (2006) conducted a
study on music performance can be portrayed as a cognitive skill with large
memory demands, or as a motor skill with large physical execution demands. The
study discusses the nature of memory for the motor aspects of music
performance, focusing on the domain of piano performance. It suggests that performer’s
hand and finger movements, as well as conceptual intentions, are encoded in
memory for performance. The transfer of performance skills from one musical
task to another is also examined. Skilled performers show more transfer of
learning across melodies that require different motor movements, suggesting
that they were able to generalize beyond the finger sequence learned. Here, we
can see that by being able to read and play music, it can enhance student’s
memory performance. As a student, they might have lot to do with their study,
to memorize so many things like facts and theories, so if they are trained to
use music as a resolver, it will give a huge impact to the student not only to
enhance their memory performance but also lead them to have better academic
performances. Psychologist classified that one of the memorization techniques
under mnemonics style is by using music to memorize words. “Musical mnemonics
are commonly thought to aid children and adults in learning new information”
(Deason et al, 2012). Thus, we can see that how students can gain the benefit
from learning music as music can aid as well as facilitate them to perform
better especially in memorization task.
As a conclusion, based on the three
arguments presented on how music education can benefit students across life
development through enhancing one’s self esteem as it can help students to be
more confident and gain more self-respect. Music education also enables
students to develop creative capacities for their lifelong success by being
focused on what they do, persistence as well as be more creative by being
original and flexible. In addition, it can also enhance student memory
performance as it can lead them to have better academic achievement. Although
the students only know to play one music instrument, that is enough for them
because each of the music instruments has comprehensive benefits for them.
The most important issue in music
education today is the lack of exposure shown by policy makers, school leaders
and government on how beneficial music education can give a long-term impact to
the people especially for the young generation. Therefore, the government
should invest in the Malaysia Research and Development (education) to study
more on the music’s benefits for better exposure on long term positive impacts.
Besides that, the Ministry of Education should also provide and spend more
budget to the Malaysia schools to implement music as formal education. In
addition, the campaign of the music benefits should spread widely to spread the
awareness of the music benefits.
Engaging in active music learning over a
sustained period generates measurable physical, psychological and social
benefits as well as a cultural benefit that is long-term for the individuals
and groups involved. The scientific evidence of music’s value from clinical
science, neuroscience, and social science is increasing every day. Although we
are yet to understand clearly all the mechanisms of how music learning can
promote long-term benefit, there can be no doubt that music can make a powerful
and positive difference to health such as physical, emotional, cognitive,
whilst supporting different aspects of intellectual functioning such as
literacy and fostering social inclusion and cohesion amongst and across diverse
groups. Investing in high quality music education should be a priority for all,
not just the lucky few, because music can transform lives for the better,
across the lifespan.
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