Students Who Play Instruments perform Better in School | Teen Ink

Students Who Play Instruments perform Better in School

December 9, 2011
By Olivia_Roxanne BRONZE, Indianapolis, Indiana
Olivia_Roxanne BRONZE, Indianapolis, Indiana
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

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Do you play an instrument? How are your grades and behavior? Believe it or not, these two things are connected! So if you aren’t involved in the performing arts, you might want to take up music! It improves brain stimulation, supplies you with important life skills, and brings down your stress level! Student musicians are proven to score better on big tests like SATs, get into better colleges and stay out of jail. Don’t believe this crazy claim? Read on!

The Three Domains of the Brain
Your brain is made up of three main domains! These would be the cognitive-knowledge, the psychomotor-skills, and the affective-feelings. In an interview with Middle School band director Andy Brinkman, he says “band is one of the few subjects that uses all three of these domains at once.” While you’re playing an instrument you have to read the notes, move your fingers and arms, and feel emotion from the music you are playing.

A Few Facts About Student Musicians

Student musicians score an average of about 62 points higher on their SATs than non-musician peers.

Kids who are in orchestra or band have the lowest levels of current and life long alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse.

Band and orchestra students have higher GPAs than kids not in band or orchestra.

Interviews Anyone? Let’s Talk to the Teachers!
You can research a topic on the internet, but the best way to get accurate information is to talk to experts in the field you are learning about! I interviewed an orchestra director, two band directors, a general music teacher, six core subject teachers and the assistant principal in charge of discipline at my middle school, Fall Creek Valley. All of them said the same thing “yes, playing an instrument makes you a better student.” Here are some of the interviews below!

Interview with 8th grade science teachers Amy Mitchell and Sharon Figura:
Me- Would you say that your students who play instruments are better students than those who do not?
Amy: Yes, those who participate in the arts have better grades. Many of my Science Student of the Year kids have been student musicians. They also tend to get their homework done on a regular basis more.
Sharon: The students who play instruments do better academically and disciplinary, no doubt.

Interview with Ellie Scott, Ball State music education student and Andy Brinkman, Band Director
Me- What life skills do you believe playing an instrument gives you?
Ellie- Teamwork, discipline, respect, confidence and much more.
Me- Why do you think playing an instrument statistically makes you a better student?
Ellie- Music is very influential. Your whole brain is activated while you are playing an instrument. It is multi tasking to the extreme.
Andy- Your brain has three main domains, the cognitive, affective and psychomotor. Only playing an instrument uses all three of these at once. When you’re doing math, you use the cognitive and maybe psychomotor. When you play a sport, you use the psychomotor. By exercising all three in band class, it generally makes you better at other subjects that use these domains of the brain as well.
Hear it from the experts!

Boosting Self Esteem According to Beth Luey and Stella Saperstein, the authors of The Harmonious Child: Every Parent's Guide to Musical Instruments, Teachers, and Lessons, learning to play any musical instrument boosts self-esteem. When you play an instrument, whether a beginner or an expert, you experience the sensation of doing something entertaining for yourself and others. As you learn additional skills that allow you to play well, your self-esteem increases as you discover that you are able to reproduce musical selections on your instrument.
Enhances Learning Luey and Saperstein wrote in their book that playing a musical instrument can help boost your academic performance! When learning to play a musical instrument, you are exposed to rhythm and counting that can help improve your understanding of many different subjects, particularly the concepts presented in math. Music can also improve your study skills, attention to detail and ability to memorize and repeat important facts.

Team Building When you play an instrument, chances are that you perform with other kids who are both older and younger than you are. Playing music as a group builds a sense of community and enables you to feel as if you belong to something bigger than yourself. Working on playing music in harmony with other people will help you learn about working as a team and will motivate you to work harder so you don’t let your peers down. Cooperating for the purpose of a common goal is a skill that kids need as they get older and playing a musical instrument does just that.

Playing an instrument gives you important life skills, improves your ability to comprehend information, gives you better discipline and higher grades! Starting to have second thoughts about being an “ork dork” or a “band geek”?

The author's comments:
I am an eighth grade trombone student, so this is something that directly applies to me! I hope it will ocnvince kids to play an instrument, or help schools who are in danger of having their performing arts department taken away.

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This article has 7 comments.

no666 said...
on Jun. 5 2016 at 11:18 pm
Learn how to cite your sources where did any of this data actually come from?

on Apr. 4 2016 at 3:40 pm
What sources did you use? I would like to use them as evidence for my essay.

Tylo34 said...
on May. 23 2015 at 11:04 pm
I disagree with the fact that students who play instruments ALWAYS have a higher GPA than non-musicians. The orchestra people in my school and who have a passion for the instrument tend to have a lower GPA than the others. I know a girl who is very passionate at the violin, yet she got a B- in algebra 2--she started blaming the teacher. Whereas me, who isn't very passionate at instruments and don't play them very often, (I play piano but not often, I'm about to quit violin) is a stellar straight A student and is good at every subject. My point is, students who tend to dwell on music have lower grades than those who don't. And music does NOT make you smarter.

on Jan. 10 2015 at 6:36 pm
Thank you so much for this! I'm including this as evidance for my essay on why schools shouldn't cut music clases! I agree that it benifits you. I play the viola in orchestra and I started from 5th to 1st chair! I also raised my grade too! Music has also helped me with my epelepsiy as well! (I don't know if I spelled that right)

esaid said...
on Jan. 5 2015 at 3:24 am
Reading is extremely important but so is music and the other Fine Arts. The article suggests playing an instrument helps to do well in school, it's not saying it's the only way. It has been proven and documented over and over again throughout the last 25+ years through testing and studies that there is definitely a connection to students doing well in school and their participation in the Arts. It is factual that MANY honors and AP students are found in music and other Fine Arts programs. Through your reasoning though you are suggesting that a person can't be smart if they are in music. Bill Gates played the trombone and Albert Einstein played the piano and violin. Stephen (misspelled in your post) Hawking didn't/doesn't play an instrument but that could be in large part to his physical limitations of ALS or maybe he just wasn't interested. He seemed to REALLY be into math and science. And that worked out well for him, don't you think? Don't take this the wrong way, I'm not saying just because you play an instrument in school that means you should be a professional musician. We all took math and science in school growing up but how many of us really become mathematicians or scientists? Before belittling the whole suggestion and thought you should check out more research and scientific proof. It's very easy to find through internet searches. Maybe even try going to talk to one of your local public school music teachers and see what goes on.

on Apr. 2 2014 at 4:53 pm
This is some great info!

Ebrown said...
on Mar. 21 2014 at 7:19 pm
Sorry but I do not agree with this at all. You're saying that to be good at school you have to play an instrument. Well I think this is crap. Reading is the best thing you can ever do to help you through life. I don't think Steven Hawking played an instrument, do you? I find it discriminating to the people who do well in school and don't play an instrument.

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