Does music improve academic development?


by Micah Roberts

Think of a world without music.

Think of all the lifeless faces walking the streets with apathetic expressions.

The days would seem longer.

Without music, the world might even become shrouded in a despair that wouldn’t be able to be repaired.

That is how important music is. Music allows people to express their creativity through something that can be extremely simple or complex. It has also been shown to help students succeed in other academic areas. That has been my experience.

Like any hobby, there is always something to learn with music. Through my experiences in bands, I have made friendships I treasure. I also know I’ve learned academically. I recognize patterns within music and that ability translates to my math classes and other core subjects.

Band has helped my time management skills. It has helped me prioritize activities and make hard decisions about how I can spend my time. During my freshman year, I had to play at a football game, a mandatory band activity, which conflicted with another mandatory event I had to attend. I spent all my time trying to figure out how I could make it to the event and keep my grade up in band, too. Then I found the answer.

I just needed to ask for help. It was that easy.

I ended up going to the game. The teacher in charge of the conflicting activity understood that I needed to get my band grade.

In addition to helping with my pattern recognition skills, music and band have helped me gain confidence. I am our school’s first-chair French horn player, a band officer and a section leader because of the friendships and lessons I’ve learned in band.

During my freshman year, my section leader was probably one of the worst people I thought I’d ever meet. We always argued, constantly insulted each other, and all I could say to her was “Just know, one day I’ll be better than you.”

I picked up my French horn every day and in every spare minute I had that year and practiced. And practiced. And practiced some more. And I earned her respect. The next fall, as a sophomore, I beat her in all-region tryouts.

I’m not the only one who believes that being involved in music is important.

OU senior Meggan Hinds is a horn player who participates in all six university bands. The music education major has been in band for most of her life, starting at age 10.

“In high school, I wasn’t allowed to practice until I did all my homework,” Hinds said.

Band is something that lets you give your skills and talents to something bigger.

William Wakefield is OU’s director of bands. His position allows him to see his students grow into adults.

“Band is part of something bigger than itself. The student’s No. 1 priority is support, whether it be for themselves or anyone else, and many of the student’s grades have improved along with their time management skills,” Wakefield said.

I’m going to be a junior this school year. I hope to accomplish lots of things with band. I want to be a better leader, and I would love to have a solo. I want to be a role model and help prove most importantly that music can and does improve academic performance.

Graphic by Micah Roberts
Graphic by Micah Roberts