The value of music education

What is the value of music education? How do we define success?  Most of us are looking for the great college acceptance, a challenging and prestigious job and a happy life for our children.

A longitudinal study was conducted where male graduates from Harvard were followed and their self-defined happiness was measured over time. The overwhelming evidence from this study, with the men now in their 70’s, is that their happiness depended upon relationships and community, not on a high-powered job or even on the amount of money they made.

Of course money is important and students who submit audition tapes to colleges can receive thousands of dollars of scholarship money to just sing in the choir. We know personally of two such cases and in neither case were these students music majors. But just submitting an audition tape opened up the scholarship money for them.

Did you know that the acceptance rate for Stanford is 7% of all applicants? However, students who submit a music tape to the music department and whose musical abilities are desired by the department are recommended to the admissions committee. For those applicants, the acceptance rate is closer to 33%. It won’t hurt you to submit a music tape—in fact it may greatly increase a young person’s chances of acceptance.

Here’s another story of music education contributing to a student’s success: In USA today a story recently appeared about a first-generation American from Shirley, N.Y. This student was accepted by all eight Ivy league colleges. He sings and plays the viola and plans to study medicine and music. After visiting four of the eight schools, he chose Yale where  “I met people who were just like me—diverse in both science and music–and they told me how manageable it is doing both.”

Last Wednesday a YME boy came up to me and told me that choosing Ragazzi was the best decision he ever made. At Singing Saturday he shared that Ragazzi has given him friends that will last a lifetime as well as skills that help him in many ways. He has branched out in his music studies to include theory and piano study. He encouraged all parents to make sure their boys stick with Ragazzi because he is sure that the boy will be grateful later.

Music, especially singing in a choir, will give boys those life-long friendships that will help build a happy life. And who knows, you may even get money for college!