The American Psychological Association recently published an article that repeats what we already know: that, on average, music students perform better in their non-music classes than non-music students do. This is not an unimportant fact. But…
If we use this information to justify music’s (or, more generally, the arts’) existence in school, we do so at our own peril. If we include the arts because they help students perform better in other classes, the arts will always be of secondary value. If a music student begins to fail English, then music must not be doing its job for that student. Pull him from band and put him in an academic strategies class. If an art student begins to fail chemistry, then art is not doing its job for that student. Pull her out of art and place her in tutoring, or virtual school, or any of the other remedial options we make available to students.
We should justify the inclusion of arts curricula in school for one reason:
In their own right, the arts are worthy of study and inclusion in all educational realms.