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Music education should be required in schools.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/31/2015 Category: Music
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 966 times Debate No: 81837
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
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I am arguing that music education should be required in schools.

My reasons for believing this are as follows:

1. Music raises children's IQ.
In 2004 E. Glenn Schellenberg randomly assigned 132 first-graders to piano, singing, theater or no lessons at all. To his surprise, he found that after a year of these lessons, the IQ scores of the music students increased more than those of the other groups [1].
In a study performed in Canada involving 48 preschoolers, after only 20 days of music training it was found that it enhanced the children's ability to plan, organize, strategize, and solve problems [2].

2. Music education affects language development in the brain.
Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually "wire the brain’s circuits" in specific ways [1].

3. People who play instruments are better at multitasking.
Musicians need to simultaneously read music, feel their instrument, respond quickly to the sound that it produces and even adjust their way of playing to match a metronome.
Julie Roy, a postgraduate researcher at the auditory-neuroscience-research library at the University of Montreal in Canada, led a team of researchers in testing fifteen musicians with differing years of musical experience as well as fifteen nonmusicians of the same age group in sensory-processing tasks. In fact, the longtime musicians “were more than twice as accurate at distinguishing touch and hearing” [3].

The benefits of music education are undeniable, and, as such, it should be required in schools.



1. It's not practical
It's not practical or fair for schools to invest in instrumental music and instruments for those who can't afford, and to accommodate a multitude of students to join what should be a completely arbitrary class. The expenditure of schools should be focused on ergonomics and salary rather than instruments and second-hand experienced, out of state/province band directors. There is also the case of whether students are willing to participate in this instrumental music as they might lag behind the others. This is where the criticality of the No Child Left Behind policy plays an important role, because some students have disadvantages, (be it physical or mental). A teacher cannot spend time with one out of thousands of kids when he/she is highly decorated for instructing an ensemble; not every kid will receive the conditioning they may deserve. Richard Kessler, Dean of Mannes College The New School of Music and former Executive Director of The Center for Arts Education explains, "The disparity between what schools offer and what students actually receive can be enormous," Bear this in mind as he explains how "...the data isn't telling you [is] that you can have schools where there is one music teacher and 1000 students. Some of those students are going to get music and some of those students aren't."

This shows the statistics on what positively and negatively affects students abilities to learn music.

    • I've highlighted the important parts of this chart that display the disparities between the negative and positive factors to consider, concerning music education. According to the chart, minorities are less likely to participate in band, based on the statistics, and obviously the people who receive free lunches are the minorities in the band who probably can't afford the amenities that come with band. Community type, and as mentioned earlier, the student to teacher ratio are detrimental to the success of an instrumental music class as well.

2. Not the question you should be asking
Whether schools should be required to teach music to students shouldn't be the question you ask, but rather whether music has positive benefits on people, which is undeniably true. I do agree that music improves cognitive skills, young or old, but that is a small factor to consider that pertains to your question. Now, there is a branch of music education that is completely practical, and that I still do not think should be imposed as a requirement, which is AP music theory. Meant for music majors, this class teaches all things music, from history to terminology, this rigorous class will surely prepare you for your musical endeavors, but it, too, shouldn't be required.


Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting the challenge!

1. My opponent has argued that buying instruments is impractical because of the cost.
I am going to use the following chart [please refer to source #1] as a reference for the average class size in the United States; which is about 20.


Currently, about 23% of all public and private schools have a uniform policy, and the average yearly cost that parents pay for school uniforms is $249, resulting in a total of $1,300,000,000 spent on uniforms alone [2].
Considering this number, if the 23% of schools that require uniforms simply cut back on their cost or stop requiring uniforms altogether, right there you have $1.3 billion that can be spent on musical instruments. Additionally, the benefit of instruments is that (if taken well care of and provided with the proper maintenance) they can be reused and last for decades.

2. My opponent stated that there is the issue of whether or not "students are willing to participate."
Willingness shouldn't be a factor. If it's required, then students (includings minorities) have to participate. And even if some do lag behind others, isn't that true in every other subject in school? Some may be more mathmatically driven, while others prefer creative writing, while some may be better at PE. In a class of 20, some may love music, while others hate it. The point is that that's how it is in every subject in school.
Additionally, there are subjects (such as PE) that are required in schools because of their benefits. As of 2006, 95.2% of high schools required PE. However, please look at the following graph [please refer to source #3] showing how many actually liked it, despite the fact that they were required to take it.

If students are not given the chance to learn an instrument, how will the child ever learn whether or not they love it?

3. AP Music Theory
Music theory: "the study of the theoretical elements of music including sound and pitch, rhythm, melody, harmony, and notation" [4]. This is music THEORY. Not MUSIC. You can learn as much as you want about the treble and bass cleff and how to read notes and understand key signatures, but this will never be the same as learning an instrument.



leedle forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


leedle forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Uninarwhale 10 months ago
Choir eliminates the money paid for instruments, but you did a good job CaptainMorkunas.
Posted by happyhour 11 months ago
same CaptainMorkunas
Posted by CaptainMorkunas 11 months ago
Aw really? I loved it!

But the thing is, I hated math class, but I was still required to take it because it was beneficial and important to my education. I think that the same is true of music.
Posted by Bosoxfaninla 11 months ago
I hated music class :/
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