Apparently the Cool Kids Were in High School Band After All

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The band geeks are having the last laugh. Considering all forms of music education – whether it was being in a choir, taking formal instrument lessons, or playing gigs in a garage band – American adults say such early experiences pay off later in life.

Seven in ten (71%) adults responding to a Harris poll say that the lessons and habits gained from music education equip people to be better team players in their careers. More than two-thirds say the "Glee" factor provides people with a disciplined approach to solving problems (67%) and prepares someone to manage the tasks of their job more successfully (66%).

And it wasn't just about being in the marching band. Over three-quarters of Americans (76%) have had some sort of music education during school – half (49%) were in a chorus and more than two in five (43%) took formal instrument lessons. Many (39%) played in a school orchestra or band, while some played in an informal group, such as a garage band (14%) or took formal vocal lessons (13%).

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The benefits of a music education may be even more tangible. The U.S. Department of Education compiled data on more than 25,000 secondary school students and found that students with high levels of involvement in instrumental music in their middle and high school years had "significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12."

A 2007 study from the University of Kansas reported that students in elementary schools with top-quality music education programs scored 19% higher in English than students in schools without a music program – and 17% higher in mathematics.

And a music education apparently helps boost SAT scores, too. The College Entrance Examination Board says SAT takers with coursework or experience in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal portion of the test and 43 points higher in math.

Maybe it's time to dust off the old clarinet and see if your kid is willing to give it a go.

—Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

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