In recent years arts education has faced many issues as the school curriculum in the United States has shifted heavily towards the common core subjects of reading and math. Teachers and even business leaders are now recognizing the value of the arts to students like never before. According to Janet Reed, a principal at Mount Rainier Elementary School, states that “All the research shows the arts advance academic excellence. ” A problem, however, is that providing arts education isn’t easy for schools to do, she says “It all comes down to money.
” For many schools it is a money struggle to maintain art and music classes but there are too many schools dropping both out completely. It is imperative that schools understand the importance and the impact that arts education can have on students. It is essential for schools to incorporate arts education into their curriculum because it plays a central role in cognitive, motor, language, and social emotional development. The two main reasons for the decline of the arts programs are that people consider them unnecessary and that schools have to make budget cuts.
Numerous individuals claim that core subjects, such as math and science, should have the most emphasis put on them in order to improve test scores. These people believe “time that is spent in art class can be better spent on other things” and that “time would be better used in a math or science class. ” By providing core subjects with a stronger focus though, the arts programs will not be available to students. School budgets also pose a problem for arts programs. This problem is mainly found in low income schools and when the budget dips, arts programs are the first to go.
When schools are cutting out arts programs for the students they are also cutting out inspiration and a form of expression. Therefore, students are less likely to attend. This is shown through a study titled “The Role of the Fine and Performing Arts in High School Dropout Prevention,” by the Center for Music Research at Florida State University and states that, Students at risk of not successfully completing their high school educations cite their participation in the arts as reasons for staying in school.
Factors related to the arts that positively affected the motivation of these students included a supportive environment that promotes constructive acceptance of criticism and one where it is safe to take risks. Time should be still be given to arts programs in order for students to have motivation for going to school and so that they will have the freedom to express themselves. One of the most important things a child needs to develop at a young age is motor skills. A motor skill is a learned sequence of movements that combine to produce a smooth, efficient action in order to master a particular task.
Many of the motions involved in making art, such as holding a paintbrush or scribbling with a crayon, are essential to the growth of fine motor skills in young children. According to the National Institutes of Health, developmental milestones around age three should include drawing a circle and beginning to use safety scissors. Around age four, children may be able to draw a square and begin cutting straight lines with scissors. Many preschool programs emphasize the use of scissors because it develops the dexterity children will need for writing.
And while children need to work and begin developing their motor before they are of school age, these skills are still developing past preschool. By cutting out art classes completely kids are being denied the chance to improve their fine motor skills. Art and music also have a strong effect on critical thinking and problem solving. Artistic creations are born through the solving of problems. Artists and musicians are constantly asking themselves and others how they can do something, like how can they turn clay into a shape, or how do I make this chord minor.
When kids participate in arts they are consistently being challenged to solve problems without realizing how much they are being challenged to think on their own. What people don’t understand about the arts is that they allow you to be a critical thinker and use the right side of your brain. When that happens you’re more inclined to be a reader because you want to absorb the drama. Your imagination is stimulated and it works so much better. When you read a book, you can appreciate it a lot more because your imagination has been ignited and it has been well trained, if you will. Muses Go To School page 5.
All this practice with problem solving develops children’s understanding skills. This will help develop important problem solving skills necessary for success in any career. Another aspect of learning that music and arts improves is spatial reasoning. Spatial reasoning is the abstract relationships between objects, such as calculating a proportion, understanding models, or playing chess.
Spatial reasoning is especially important in math and science. Students with good spatial reasoning have an easier time understanding visual things such as graphs and models. One of the most popular studies that prove music affects spatial reasoning is called “Mozart Effect. ” In a 1993 experiment, college students performed better on a test for spatial reasoning after listening to a Mozart sonata for 10 minutes. Although its effect only lasted for 15 minutes it shows how big of an impact music can have on students. By studying arts and music students learn and develop skills that will help with every class and also life outside of school. The ability to focus is a key skill developed through ensemble work which is used in classes such as band, chorus, and orchestra. This is also important to art projects where kids are in groups or pairs.
Keeping a balance between listening and contributing involves a great deal of concentration and focus. Not only does everyone have to think of their own task and role but they have to understand how they contribute to the large group and work being done. Research has shown that participation in the arts improves children’s abilities to concentrate and focus in other aspects of their lives. They also learn dedication through arts and music. When kids get to practice following through with artistic endeavors that result in a finished product or performance, they learn to associate dedication with a feeling of accomplishment.
They carry this feeling of dedication with them into their other classes. By practicing healthy work habits of being on time for practices, class, performances or shows they learn the importance of taking their time and consistently working towards their goal so their show or performance reaches their expectations. Art and music students also learn how to respect the contributions of others effort into the success of the final piece. In the performing arts, the reward for dedication is the warm feeling of an audience’s applause that comes rushing over you, making all your efforts worthwhile.
Another lesson learned through art and music is perseverance. Whenever a new student picks up their new instrument, or paint brush, they know that playing Bach and painting like Von Gogh is not going to happen right away. However, when that new music or art student begins to practice, learn the skills and techniques and doesn’t give up, they realize that their goal is becoming closer and their dreams don’t seem so hard to reach. In an increasingly competitive world, where people are being asked to continually develop new skills, perseverance is essential to achieving success.