Music

10 Reasons Why Giving Students Access to the Arts MattersRecent data from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that the Arts contributed a whopping $704.2 Billion to the US economy in 2013 and a 32.5% growth in GDP from 1998 and 2013.  Additionally, over that 15-year period, consumer spending on the performing arts grew 10% annually.  These trends demonstrate the Arts are an important commodity for U.S. consumers.  While Americans place a value on the arts, funding for the arts in schools continues to disappear at a dramatic rate.  Now, more than ever, it’s important to advocate for the arts and fight to give students access.  Here are 10 Reasons why giving students access to the arts matters:The Arts make important economic contributionsAs the data from the NEA shows, the Arts make important contributions to the U.S. economy and provide jobs for millions of Americans.  If the arts and culture in the U.S. were a state, its $704.2 billion would be larger than the Gross State Product for 45 of 50 states.  Removing arts education from students robs them of the opportunity to learn about career paths for the future and significant ways to feed the economy.Teachers benefit from arts educationWhat is good for students is often good for educators.  While most studies demonstrate the positive influence that arts education has on students, the “Learning In and Through the Arts” study found that teachers in high-arts schools were more open, flexible, knowledgeable, and engaged in their own ongoing learning compared to teachers in low-arts schools.  Further, art teachers must learn to balance teaching across disciplines, which ultimately gives them the same benefits the students receive from taking arts classes.Art increases critical thinking skillsIn a randomized controlled trial involving 3,811 students who were assigned by lottery to participate in a school-sponsored visit to an Art Museum in Arkansas, students who participated in the School Visit Program demonstrated significantly stronger critical thinking skills when analyzing a new painting after the trip.  Results were even stronger for students who had underprivileged backgrounds.Exposure to art affects values and makes kids more empatheticThe same study also demonstrated that exposure to art made kids more empathetic by gaining awareness of different people, places, and ideas.  Working in conjunction with critical thinking skills, this encourages kids to be more careful and thorough in how they observe the world and relate to other people.Art is an inclusive universal languageThe arts are the first official language of young children everywhere.  Babies coo and smile to the sound of a parental lullaby; children scribble as a part of development.  Most sought after toys feature bright colors and make a variety of sounds.  Access to the arts in schools creates this same type of inclusive environment where all students, regardless of background and skill can participate and engage.The arts improve social cohesionStudents from lower income families often get little exposure to the arts if they are not provided at school.  A 2005 report from the Rand Corporation argues that arts education does far more than provide a “creative outlet,” but rather helps all students connect to a larger world thereby improving community cohesion.  By providing access to the arts, this levels the playing field so that all students regardless of background have enrichment experiences.Students learn how to collaborate through art and apply skills to other areasData suggests skills students gain through participating in operas can be applied more broadly.  Operas force students to collaborate often and effectively especially pertaining to understanding the multiple layers of meaning.  This in turn, as a researcher for the Harvard Graduate School of Education found through observation, leads to higher quality of work and deeper comprehension of complex subject material.Art teaches unique habits not taught by other subjectsA 2007 study by Winner and Hetland revealed a spectrum of mental habits that students learn in the art classroom that are not typically acquired by other parts of school curricula.  These include visual-spatial abilities, reflection, self-criticism, and the willingness to experiment and learn from their mistakes.  The kinds of thinking are intrinsically important, but not the same type of skills a student might learn from math or science.Art is an important complement to test preparationThe majority of public schools emphasize test preparation and classes are often lecture style.  The arts are a much-needed reprieve for students that foster creativity and help sustain engagement in other subjects.  Other countries like Hong Kong, Japan, Canada, and Finland, who all consistently outperform the U.S. in math and reading standardized tests, all require extensive education in the arts.The arts make students smarterIn 2008, the Dana Foundation released a series of studies lead by neuroscientists that found a tight correlation between exposure to the arts and improved skills in cognition, attention to learning, and memory.  This is because an interest in performing art leads to a high state of motivation that produces the sustained attention necessary to improve cognitive performance.ArtSmart is a nonprofit that gives students access to the arts.  For more information on ArtSmart or how to donate, please visit www.artsmart.org....

The term minimalism is also used to describe a trend in design and architecture where in the subject is reduced to its necessary elements. Minimalist design has been highly influenced by Japanese traditional design and architecture. In addition, the work of De Stijl artists is a major source of reference for this kind of work....

Ask a musician if music education is important for our children and you’ll invariably get a resounding “YES!” You know it, I know it, my co-founders know it, and most of the people we associate with know it. We have first hand experience – studying music shaped the core of our beings from a young age. We wouldn’t know ourselves without it!Now as ArtSmart has grown from idea into reality, I’ve found myself explaining the program to just about anyone who will listen. This includes plenty of non-musicians. These well-intentioned folk are school administrators, parents, educators, office workers, even friends and family, and they grew up with limited musical experience. In the process of explaining what exactly ArtSmart does, I often start with how many schools are slashing budgets for Arts programs, and how terrible that is for our children, which makes a great lead-in for what ArtSmart plans to do about it. And most people agree: Arts education is good. But occasionally I’ll get some push-back. Someone for whom arts degrees are a waste of time, and music lessons a diversion. So for these people I had to go about proving what I already know- music education provides benefits far beyond the music room. And what I found in the studies and facts is direct scientific evidence which brings to light why our mission is so important:Studying music increases cognitive ability in other subject areas. A 2010 study by B.H. Helmrich published in the Journal of Adolescent Research shows a positive correlation between music instruction and performance in algebra. Musical students show a stronger sense of cooperation and community. Caterall demonstrated in 2009 that students studying music show increased participation in community service, civic engagement and collaborative probem solving. Arts Participation increases school attendance and slashes drop-out rates. A number of studies (Catterall, 1998; Horn, 1992; Heath et al., 1998; Mahoney, & Cairns, 1997; Barry, 2010) have shown that students participating in Arts programs are more likely to attend school, less likely to drop out, and more likely to graduate.None of these findings were surprising to me. What was surprising (and exciting!) was the sheer ­amount of research I uncovered to confirm the importance of music education. One great resource is http://www.artsedsearch.org, a site wholly dedicated to compiling research on arts education. Another comes from NAMM, which has put together a ton of research in the field. I particularly like their Facts and Quotes PDF, with over 50 pages of information supporting arts education!Finding all of this scientific evidence for our mission here at ArtSmart has been a huge confidence builder for our team. Knowing that our instincts are backed by tons of research has helped shape our program and our message to donors, schools and partners.There can be no denying it: Arts education is vital for our children!...

The term minimalism is also used to describe a trend in design and architecture where in the subject is reduced to its necessary elements. Minimalist design has been highly influenced by Japanese traditional design and architecture. In addition, the work of De Stijl artists is a major source of reference for this kind of work....