Thursday, March 14, 2013

Why Music Education is so Important.

By Marty Wimmer, Classical 94.5 WNED program host

As a music teacher, one might think I’d be offended by the question, “Why is music education important?” Music has its own intrinsic value. It needs no further justification. However, some don’t see it that way. Some think of music as an extra. They need further convincing. Thus, this is an opportunity.

Unsure of how to begin, I posed the question to my Facebook friends (this is 2013, after all). I expected to get a few short remarks and maybe a couple of talking points from them, but boy was I surprised! I received 30 thoughtful and passionate responses. It was humbling. I’m the music teacher. I’m supposed to be the one most able to articulate the value of music education. I assume that’s why I was asked the question in the first place, but my ideas couldn’t compare to the heartfelt responses from my friends.

My friend “E” grew up with major physical challenges. She wrote, “Music was important to me because it was something I could do well It was an important self-esteem boost.”

My friend “S” who lives in Los Angeles now wrote, “I owe everything I am to an awesome music teacher. The discipline I learned from her transferred to all my other subjects.”

My childhood friend “N” wrote, “Music literally saved me. I had it rough as a kid. My involvement in the music program kept me from wrecking my life.”

Many friends said that music helped them with science, math, foreign language, history, physical education and art.

The most touching response, however came from a friend whose teenage son was seriously depressed. It was scary. She said that his participation in the high school band probably saved his life. “He finally made friends - and it was all through music.”

Why is music education important? Comment below and ask YOUR friends.

Marty Wimmer is a program host on Classical 94.5/WNED and a veteran public school music teacher.


  1. As someone who is in his 50's and never played an instrument or read music before I walked into Twin Village Music a year ago, I have to say learning to play an instrument has enriched my life far more than I can express here. In short it has increased my appreciation of music, I listen to a wider variety of music, I mean really listen - and appreciate composition, musicianship, mood and story it conveys.

    It improved my health, reduces stress, keeps me mindful, connects me to others. I can't tell you the number of my contemporaries who played in the past and stopped due mainly to running a family. Some of which are getting back into it due to my prodding - they are returning to an old love.

    I envy youth who have the ability to participate in learning and playing an instrument. I wish I had the opportunity to learn in my youth. Every child should have the chance to learn to play an instrument of their choice under the guidance of a good teacher. There's music in all of us - we just need a little help getting it out.

    Music Departments should be as fully funded as possible. The world needs a good counterpoint to the mess we have today - music is it.

  2. Music has accompanied me through life: as a participant, as a listener, in solitude, in transit, in truth and imagination, connected me to others and to the essence of myself. Music is magic because it can transform an ordinary moment into something extraordinary; it can make poetry sing and improve the spirits and heighten the imagination. It can be very simple, too, and soothing, a way to healing and just being.

    Music is about the integration of the mind, body and spirit-certainly in performing it, but also in listening to and appreciating it.

    Music should never be considered an 'extra' in education! Any more than the breathing or heartbeats of the children who deserve the chance to have it included in their lives.

    Thanks, Marty, for all you do to help that happen!