The Instigator
Olhando
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
the-mad-ones
Con (against)
Losing
8 Points

Music Theory/Music Skills classes should be mandatory course's for all students to take.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/11/2008 Category: Education
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 10,103 times Debate No: 3592
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (7)

 

Olhando

Pro

I'd like to start my first debate here by saying I'm intrigued by this site, this is just what we need. Something to refine our ideas, and be exposed to views we may have never considered before.

Too the case.

Music is all around us. Everyone has a favorite band or artist, and many people themselves are involved with music. Though, what is the benefit of music besides entertainment? Is it just that?

Evidently not according to Dr. Lawrence Parsons of the University of Texas-San Antonio. In 1998 he revealed the results of his research to the Society for Neuroscience at their annual meeting in Los Angeles, it showed that significantly more of the brain was being used during music making than previously thought.

"Dr. Parsons analyzed music's influence on the brain by examining expert musicians. One of the studies found that expert musicians use widely dispersed, interconnected brain areas when they intently listen to different aspects of a piece of music including its rhythm, melody, and harmony." - Nature, New York Times "The Brain and Music" (http://www.nytimes.com...)

In other words, seasoned musicians are able to use more of their brain while deducing and/or playing a piece. Perhaps the same 'widely-dispersed' areas of the brain will be activated when analyzing math, english or science.

At that is in fact what it will do. In the Rutgers Focus article, "Music Helps Students Retain Math" published Mar 6, 2006, by Pam Orel, she reported on the "three-year study [that] was conducted by Maya Ruvinshteyn, instructor in mathematics at Essex County College and Rutgers-Newark, and Leonard Parrino, mathematics professor at Essex County College." - (http://ur.rutgers.edu...)

"A Rutgers instructor says that Baroque style music played during mathematics class helped students enjoy class and retain more information. The research builds on studies linking certain music to improvements in learning...

After the first month, surveys showed that students who listened to music were more likely to enjoy class (86 percent vs. 76 percent) and less likely to find mathematics challenging (33 percent vs. 46 percent). Similar changes were noted in both groups regardless of which instructor taught the course. Pre- liminary results also indicated an improvement in student grades."

This is an idea of the 'Mozart Effect' in which the theory lies that theory that listening to Mozart's or Baroque music can enhance intellect, or at least some components of intellectual function. The term was first coined by Alfred A. Tomatis who used Mozart's music as the listening stimulus in his work attempting to cure a variety of disorders.

This brings me to my conclusion, by making Musicianship and Harmony class's mandatory in school it gives all students the opportunity to improve their analytical skills. Not only is music beneficial hand in hand with education but it is also fun. Too often students are bored in school and by offering a class like music it changes the academic feel of school to a place of art as well. Free expression is key to character development and music is a great way to become more social and increase your self esteem.

"While most of us will never sing like Aretha Franklin or Celine Dion, an education in the arts can help all of us reach our individual dreams. Research now shows that music education not only lifts our children's hearts, but also dramatically increases their abstract reasoning, spatial skills, and their scores on math and verbal exams. At a time when too many arts education programs are the first to be cut and the last to be added, all of us must send a clear message. When it comes to igniting our children's ability to learn and imagine, the arts must be just as central to our children's education as the three R's." - Hillary Rodham Clinton, former First Lady and Senator of the United States
the-mad-ones

Con

My opponent touches on a lot of difference points, so for the sake of simplicity for this first argument, I will simply respond to points made in my opponent's argument.

Point of contention:
"Music Theory/Music Skills classes should be mandatory course's for all students to take."

"Music is all around us....Is it just that?"
>> This is true. Listening to music is not uncommon or unpopular.

"Evidently not according...when analyzing math, english or science."
>>So the study revealed that creators of musical pieces typically use more areas of their respective brains when producing these pieces than previously believed. From here my opponent hypothesizes that perhaps some of these areas are also used when exploring intellectual pursuits. This hypothesis is likely to be based off of the following (and other similar) study cited by my opponent.

"At that is in fact what it will do...Pre- liminary results also indicated an improvement in student grades."
>>This looks primarily to be based off an opinion poll rather than performance-based data. So it does nothing to prove that these students perform better at mathematics over time, but rather that students enjoy math and find it to seem less challenging when listing to music in class. Believing something to be less challenging is very different from actually performing better at something. For purposes of this debate, I can assume that these studies also proved that performance improved due to musical exposure during class. As an additional question...were these surveys scientifically conducted? Are these differences statistically significant?

"This is an idea of the 'Mozart Effect'...attempting to cure a variety of disorders. "
>>There have been studies regarding the positive benefits achieved from listening to certain sonatas by Mozart (and similar music) [Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky 1993]. These results have not been consistently replicated. In addition, other studies have found that (a) The effect may simply be due to students listening to something they considered enjoyable while performing complex tasks [Tompson, 2001]. Students in other more structured studies were exposed to multiple types of sound therapy (commonly enjoyable, upbeat music vs less enjoyable music vs enjoyable audiobooks vs etc) while performing complex tasks. The results indicated that upbeat music outperformed less enjoyable music, but primarily for those who enjoyed the upbeat music. In addition, even listening to enjoyable audiobooks resulted in improved performance vs listening to nothing [Prelude or Requiem for the 'Mozart Effect'],[Thompson, Schellenberg, Husain]. (b) The Mozart Effect was only shown to have persisted only as long as the students were exposed to the music, meaning there was no long-term benefit. (c) Studies similar to the Mozart Effect study were produced almost a decade later. These studies indicated that there was no mathematical performance benefit from listening to Mozart or Bach [Bridget and Cuevas 2000]

"This brings me to my conclusion...former First Lady and Senator of the United States"
>>Few, if any, of he points mentioned by my opponent lend credibility to the argument that these music theory/skills classes should be mandatory. Assuming that "mandatory" is synonymous with the concept of "illegal if not performed", then we would have to find considerable evidence that these classes provide some form of a constitutional benefit...or that failing to take these classes would cause some form of constitutional harm.
In fact, my opponent is condoning the opposite. My opponent believes that we should REMOVE students' personal freedoms and FORCE these students to take these classes which they may have little interest in. This goes against the basic tenants upon which our nation was founded.
And why? Because some studies from 1993 (which have since been refuted) indicated that there may be some short term benefit with regards to mathematical performance. Because some journalistic pieces from the New York Times which cited the same and similar studies discussed similar POTENTIAL short term benefits.
Many people consider listening to music enjoyable, but this does not mean people should be forced to learn how to produce music.
There have been studies indicated that there may be some correlation between musical exposure and mathematical performance (although it may not even be musical exposure, but rather exposure to enjoyment), but this does not mean people should be forced to learn how to produce music, or that it is necessary for students to perform well in mathematics. These decisions should be made by the students, their parents, and other qualified individuals...not politicians OR scientists.
Some studies indicate that moderate wine consumption reduces likelihood of cancer. This doesn't mean it should be mandatory for people to moderately consume wine.
Debate Round No. 1
Olhando

Pro

I'd like to first thank you for taking this debate on. May the best man win.

Secondly, I'd like to clarify:

"'Evidently not according...when analyzing math, english or science.'
>>So the study revealed that creators of musical pieces typically use more areas of their respective brains when producing these pieces than previously believed"

Its no that their brains are more active when they produce, but when they listen, and are attentive. When students are deducing an interval or piece of music they are having to develop a better short term memory.

"Memory is strongly affected by simultaneous
activity in other parts of the brain. You remember words you've
spoken better than words you've only read or heard... It's also
true that rhythm appears to assist remembering otherwise unconnected data;
mnemonics to recall lists work better if they have rhythm and/or rhyme (and
even better if they are vulgar)... Important rules and folk wisdom are
often rhythmic or alliterative.. So it seems likely that music helps memory. For it to work in this way, one piece of music seems to need to be specifically and repeatedly associated with only one piece of data. This rules out listening to the radio while doing your homework, but it would be interesting to set your French vocabulary list to music. "- "Ask A Scientist´┐Ż" Biology Archive, Music & Memory, (Http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov...)

This brings me back to my intial point, "...musicians are able to use more of their brain while deducing and/or playing a piece."

"..This looks primarily to be based off an opinion poll rather than performance-based data.. it does nothing to prove that these students perform better at mathematics over time, but rather that students enjoy math and find it to seem less challenging when listing to music in class... were these surveys scientifically conducted? Are these differences statistically significant?"

'Primarily based of an opinion poll...'. I'd like to first, most everything is an opinion poll about the brain. In an article by Radical Doula, (http://www.presstv.ir...) "Hypnosis used as anesthesia for cesarean... On Saturday at noon, 24-year-old Aida Hassanlou gave birth to her 3.950 kilogram baby girl, Saqi, by C-section while she was awake but under the effects of hypnosis." - Hypnosis- "trance like state which a person becomes more aware "

I don't necessecarily believe you should go out have a c-section under hypnosis, I am merely using this example to show that scientists have no idea how this worked, how this woman could not go itno shock while she was cut open / giving birth. Scientists only give their opinions, unless they can be certain, and the human brain is something we are very clear on.

My opponents next point, "...it does nothing to prove that these students perform better at mathematics over time, but rather that students enjoy math and find it to seem less challenging..." So, you argue that performing better at something like Math is NOT shown by students getting better grades in it and finding it less challenging? That is in fact wrong, Teacher precisly look for students excelling, developing new ideas and question, and in turn recognizing once complex concepts.

He goes on to ask, "were these surveys scientifically conducted? Are these differences statistically significant?" Please define your idea os 'scientifically conducted. If you meant did they follow the Scientific Process yes, (identification of problem - low grades and attention.)(hypothesis - Music helps retention with students.)(deductive reasoning- We can observe their attentitivness in class, watch grades either improve, decline or stay the same.)(data collection and analysis - To ensure precise results, it was tested for 3 years.)(derive conclusion - "...music played during mathematics class helped students enjoy class and retain more information. The research builds on studies linking certain music to improvements in learning")

So yes it was scientifically done, and it was performed by Professors Maya Ruvinshteyn and Leonard Parrino of Essex County College.

"are these differences statistically significant?" - In my, and many scientists and professors I have cited, opinon. It does. In addtion, everyone has had 'bad' professor, someone who is boring or you just don't 'like'. In the same paper is was said that, "[Statisitcally]...Similar changes were noted in both groups regardless of which instructor taught the course." Wouldn't it be BEST for students to have even a 13% better chance at finding a class less challenging, thats potentially more then a letter grade.

The next argument of my opponents distorts myy words. I quote my self, "This is an idea of the 'Mozart Effect' in which the theory lies that theory that listening to Mozart's or Baroque music can enhance intellect, or at least some components of intellectual function. The term was first coined by Alfred A. Tomatis who used Mozart's music as the listening stimulus in his work attempting to cure a variety of disorders."

I did not in fact say the implication of "'This is an idea of the 'Mozart Effect'...attempting to cure a variety of disorders. '" I am not arguing that music can cure a disease or disorder. I said, "the theory lies that ... listenting to Mozart's or Baroque music can enhance intellect, or at least some components of intellectual function."

He later states, "These results have not been consistently replicated." This is also a false assumption. In a Science Daily article,(http://www.sciencedaily.com...), it headlined "New Research Provides The First Solid Evidence That The Study Of Music Promotes Intellectual Development" its dated(Aug. 20, 2004) and further reads " — The idea that studying music improves the intellect is not a new one, but at last there is incontrovertible evidence from a study conducted out of the University of Toronto." In which children where given a series of choices,
"four activities: keyboard lessons, voice lessons, drama lessons, or no lessons... The participating children were given IQ tests before and after the lessons.. this study revealed that increases in IQ from pre- to post-test were larger in the music groups than in the two others."
This was then again confirmed in the Newswire Article, (http://www.newswiretoday.com...) "Music Education Leads to an Increase in Ones' IQ" dated 02/03/2007.

This experiement was led by Dr. E. Glenn Schellenberg,who "examined the effect of extra-curricular activities on the intellectual and social development of six-year-old children."

My opponent then attacked the credibility, "Studies similar to the Mozart Effect study were produced almost a decade later. These studies indicated that there was no mathematical performance benefit from listening to Mozart or Bach [Bridget and Cuevas 2000]"

"..even listening to enjoyable audiobooks resulted in improved performance vs listening to nothing ". Again I feel misconstrued, the students were not only listening to music but in fact taking lessons in it.

His source is four years previous to the (Aug. 20, 2004) Science Daily article, in fact all of his references (1993, 2000, 2001) are now out dated. Unless my opponent can offer any more recent studies disconfirming these arguments, his previous claims fall.

I must be quick because I dont have room (look2comments). Mandatory, yes, this does not necessarily mean they are playing an instrument. P.E is a mandatory class, it improves you physically, because scientists say so. Your brain isn't necessarily the same thing as muscle, being composed of gray and white matter, but your can exercise is, and learning music theory/skills have shown significantly high improvements in improving brain function: with analytical skills, seeing patterns, and being able to listening to 2 things at once and comprehand them.
the-mad-ones

Con

There are two points being discussed here:
1) Whether music assists in learning/retention/brain function;
2) Whether students should be required to take Music Theory/ Music Skills classes in public schools.
Since the specific argument is that "Music Theory/Music Skills classes should be mandatory course's for all students to take,", I only need to produce agreement that (2) is wrong in order to prove my opponent's argument wrong ((1) would simply be moot in that case). I will continue to respond to my opponent's other points, but the truth is that those points do not indicate exactly WHY these classes should be MANDATORY.

1) The 'Ask a Scientist' archived article is anecdotal at best, it does not prove anything with regards to Music classes being beneficial to students with regards to brain function.

2) Opinion polls are inherently weaker than data based off of action, primarily because of uncertainty regarding the strength of these opinions/feelings, and secondarily because of weaker guidelines with regards to people's ranges. Performance-based data, such as testing and scoring, typically produce harder evidence.

3) My opponent's comment that 'the human brain is something we are [not] very clear on,' and the pregnant woman example simply highlight a further weakness in his argument. If we are not certain with regards to the effects Music classes would have on students' brain function, why make them mandatory?

4) To clarify my question with regards to how the studies that my opponent cites are conducted: How were they performed? What were the sample sizes? What were the biases? Were these specific classes of students coming from similar backgrounds/environments/zip codes? Were they random students strewn across the nation? Were foreign children or children of immigrants included? If these tests were not controlled, or normalized for the aforementioned items (among many more), then the data they present may be directional or specific to a particular demographic, but that wouldn't mean they are conclusive with regards to the population.

5) My opponent may not understand the theory behind statistical significance, so I'll pass on my response to that comment.

6) I'm not distorting my opponent's words. I'm simply saving space and time by referencing areas in my opponent's argument. This is not a verbal argument. Voters can easily read each person's points, so there would be no value in 'word distortion'.

7)The results obviously have not been consistently replicated. To be consistent, something would have to be relatively recurrent and reliable. The fact that studies were published that refuted the original studies clearly indicates that replication was not consistent. There's no assumption here. It's fact.

8) By my opponents own cited quote, the research regarding music lessons specifically is NEW (since studies highlighting LISTENING to music proved relatively inconclusive with regards to the effects of listening to music versus other enjoyable/mood improving activities). This study from 2004 has not been replicated.

9) As a separate point, this study also found that drama lessons improved adaptive social behavior, something the music lessons did not do. Should we make drama lessons mandatory as well? Especially considering the size of these effects (the abstract reads 'The effect was relatively small, but it generalized across IQ subtests...')

10) My opponent may wish to discuss the term 'outdated' with some scientists. Studies don't necessarily become outdated unless they have been consistently refuted by more recent similar studies or studies attempting replication. Even the Schellenberg study's abstract states that 'The available evidence indicates that music listening leads to enhanced performance on a variety of cognitive tests, but that such effects are short-term and stem from the impact of music on arousal level and mood, which, in turn, affect cognitive performance; experiences other than music listening have similar effects.' This is in direct agreement with the studies I mentioned. There are no more recent published articles on the matter.

11) There are no 'significantly high improvements', per my opponent's comment, with regards to the effects of music listening/ music lessons specifically. The high improvements from listening were not consistently replicated, and the improvements were not considered the direct result of listening to music, but rather on any mood arousal. The significant improvements detected in the NEW (aka not replicated) Schellenberg study were not large improvements, as the study itself states.

12) Physical Education is not mandatory in schools. Less than a few states have mandated PE (Illinois may be the only one), and even those states allow parents of those students to easily waive themselves out of these classes...so even those states don't technically mandate PE. In addition, physical activity does have widespread impact on both physical and mental well-being. Studies with regards to this have been consistently replicated. Non-extreme hysical activity has been shown to improve well-being, regardless of socio-economic background, race, or personal preferences. And even then, PE is not mandatory in the school system.

Conclusion:
My opponent has failed to indicate whether music education improves the well-being of students. In attempting to prove this, my opponent simply cited a hodge-podge of articles relating to music and intellect. These articles did not show consistency or considerable proof one way or another. The most recent of these articles reflected a minor improvement in IQ, due to music lessons for a specific demographic (6 yr olds). This study has yet to be replicated.
In addition and most importantly, mandating a specific class essentially removes personal freedom. A student should not be required to take a music class if he/she (and his/her parents) prefer otherwise. These students may prefer alternative uses of their educational time allotment...alternatives which could provide similar benefits, or at least preferred benefits. The wine analogy still holds. Citizens should not be required to live a certain lifestyle just because studies state that that lifestyle may be good for them. That is the whole point of personal freedom. As long as your beliefs/actions don't infringe on mine, you can be free to live your life.
Of lesser importance, students have a specific amount of time provided for public education. Any required classes result in less time for more preferred intellectual pursuits.
Done.
Debate Round No. 2
Olhando

Pro

.... I'm going to make this short because I just finished listing out my opponents points (1-10 at least) and my computer froze.

Let me first connect my ideas.

1. Listening to music during a class helps retention/enjoyment/ and comfortablity.
2. When a student learns music, and hears it while applying his knowledge of music theory, more areas of his brain are activited.
3. If we get students to take music, not only will they start to retain more info (from something like Math class), but more of their brain will become accessible to them. Thus a Music student has an advantage over a non music student.
4. We can pair something like music (fun for students) and a math (not so fun), we can implement associative conditioning. The students will use more of their brain in class (because of its expansion from studying music).
5. So why make it mandatory? Just like english, math, and geogrpahy give real world advantages to those who dont take them, Music is the same. Music increase the analytical skills of students, something only benfical.
6. And finally, like I stated in my first argument, making a music class apart of school for everyone brings in a CREATIVE aspect of learning rather then the constant academic feel, and guess what? Music will even help with those academic class's.

I apologize for not going over everything, but after typing for an hour, I hardly feel up to that again, especially if I am having to rejurgitate my ideas.

Once again I'd like to thank my opponent for taking this debate on, best of luck.
the-mad-ones

Con

My opponent literally ignored half of my last argument, as is made obvious by his points. Well, I will simply answer each of his points then:

"1. Listening to music during a class helps retention/enjoyment/ and comfortablity."
>> As stated in previous arguments (by ME and not by my opponent), these studies, in combination, propose that audial enjoyment of any type has been proven to improve classroom performance, for a very short amount of time. Not just music, and not for long-term retention.

"2. When a student learns music, and hears it while applying his knowledge of music theory, more areas of his brain are activited."
>> More areas than what? What is the comparison here? And which study refers to this specifically? I have already answered this in previous arguments.

"3. If we get students to take music, not only will they start to retain more info (from something like Math class), but more of their brain will become accessible to them. Thus a Music student has an advantage over a non music student."
>> This is not known to be true, and has not been proven yet. Only one study hints at it, and that study has yet to be replicated. And retention was not the exact metric compared either. My opponent is making up observations. In fact, I am unsure of whether my opponent actually read the studies he cited, or whether he just cited them after reading the first sentence of the abstract from his Google queries.

"4. We can pair something like music (fun for students) and a math (not so fun), we can implement associative conditioning. The students will use more of their brain in class (because of its expansion from studying music)."
>> Fun/Not Fun are subjective and relative terms. They do not pertain to this argument. I'm sure we CAN do these things. That doesn't mean they add value or that there is a real advantage. I have answered the 'using more of the brain' argument in previous arguments.

"5. So why make it mandatory? Just like english, math, and geogrpahy give real world advantages to those who dont take them, Music is the same. Music increase the analytical skills of students, something only benfical."
>> THERE IS NO REAL PROOF OF THIS. My opponent has not proved it. The studies he cites have not proved it, and the scientists conducting these studies have admitted that it was not proven. What else does my opponent need in order to stop referencing the same, unproven points?

"6. And finally, like I stated in my first argument, making a music class apart of school for everyone brings in a CREATIVE aspect of learning rather then the constant academic feel, and guess what? Music will even help with those academic class's."
>> OK. What does this have to do with our argument?

>> Here's MY condensed conclusion:
>> 1) There is no proof that listening to music, versus any other audial enjoyment, improves retention. In addition, audial enjoyment only improves retention for only a short period (15 or so minutes) after it has ended. The combination of studies relating to the LISTENING of music essentially arrive at this conclusion.
>> 2) There is only one study which states that the LEARNING of music improves retention. This study reflected very, very mild (albeit statistically usable) improvements in IQ. The study was performed only on 6-year olds, and has not been replicated. So even with its weak findings, it should be discounted.
>> 3) The government does not mandate everything which MIGHT have a SMALL positive effect on citizens. This is not constitutional, nor is it prudent. I could say more, but I have already gone over this in the last argument. Time for the voters to decide.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Olhando 8 years ago
Olhando
The last point i could not make was to this "..POTENTIAL short term benefits. Many people consider listening to music enjoyable, but this does not mean people should be forced to learn how to produce music."

To clarify, I do not envy forcing them how to place an instrument. Learning a music theory class/application (analyzing music class) is something that could take a single year to complete, thats is something for the school systems to decide. But that knowledge accompanying them, their real world application improve. In addition, most school districts (if not all of them) require fine arts classes for HS students, if that is a 2 yr mim a music class can be one of them, once again, a school districts decision.

I hope this address's all of your questions, and the last statement of "Some studies indicate that moderate wine consumption reduces likelihood of cancer. This doesn't mean it should be mandatory for people to moderately consume wine." - is a crude comparison, increased analytical skills through education is a much more realistic idea the wine curing cancer.
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