The power of music in education
Throughout history, music has
been a profound cultural element
in nearly all of man’s diverse
cultures. It has played a beneficial
role in human development and the
civilizing of mankind.
Scientists are discovering that
in addition to the positive effects
on human health, music enhances
intelligence. Research shows that
music is to the brain what physical
exercise is to the human body.
Musical training has shown
to lead to improvements in a wide
variety of different skills, including
memory and spatial learning for
example. Additionally, language
skills such as verbal memory,
literacy and verbal intelligence
have been shown to strongly benefit
from musical training.
In 1989, the National Commission
on Music Education reported that
students taking music courses
scored an average of 20-40 points
higher on both verbal and math
portions of the SATs.
Learning to play an instrument
is an unforgiving endeavor. You
cannot hide a wrong note or a
missed beat. Demanding rigorous
disciplined repetitious drills are
indispensable for the development
of a variety of skills, musical or
But such drills are frowned
upon and in some schools
considered corporal punishment.
The significance of musical
skills in the overall educational
experience is misunderstood and
often dismissed. In many school
districts, music programs are
among the first to be replaced
with trendy social justice and
For instance, students of music
are required to: focus attention
for long periods of time; decode a
complex symbolic system; translate
the code into precise motor patterns;
recognize patterns of sound across
time; discriminate differences
in pitch; learn rules of pattern
formation; memorize long passages
of music; track and reproduce
rhythms; understand ratios and
fractions; and improvise within a
set of musical rules.
Teachers rated developing the
ability to listen as the main benefit,
followed by musical knowledge
and the development of other skills
necessary for careful listening
including concentration and selfdiscipline.
The skills of careful listening
and differentiating musical
sounds transfer to other areas of
the curriculum and improve the
students’ ability to concentrate and
attend to details.
A MORE ACTIVE APPROACH
Once again, bike lanes are a hot topic in
We’ve heard from those both for and against
the implementation of bike lanes across the
Those who are against bike lanes have said
they are dangerous to drivers and take away
valuable space on the road.
Those who are for bike lanes argue that the
designated space can help save countless lives.
On March 14, 53-year-old cyclist Robert Spencer
was fatally struck by a car on an uncompleted
bike lane just a block from his Long Island City
Nicole Spencer, the victim’s sister, was certain
that her brother — an experienced bicyclist and
motorcyclist — would have not put himself in any
danger and could not have been the cause of the
Michael Vega — the victim’s brother —
blamed a city government that seems to wait on
community boards to vote in favor — or against
— bike lanes before moving forward with what
data has shown to be a life-saving redesign.
Therein lies the problem.
Too much time passes before any decisions are
made when it comes to bike lanes. And this time,
a life was lost as a result of inactivity.
City Councilman Van Bramer — who
represents the area — said he supports calls from
the family to cut through the bureaucracy of the
community board process in the implementation
of bike lanes.
Meanwhile, the City Department of
Transportation said it will look into potential
safety enhancements in the area in an effort to
avoid any future fatalities.
Whether communities, city officials and
politicians are for or against bike lanes,
something must be changed so that whatever
decisions are made can be made faster.
The lack of effort to quickly come to a definitive
answer has cost lives, and will continue to cost
lives if nothing changes,
How many more lives must be lost before there
is a change in the process?
We’re not arguing for or against bike lanes?
We simply are asking for definitive plans within
Once those plans are made, we ask for said
plans to be implemented in a timely manner.
That should not be too much to ask for.
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