Singing in choir promotes academic achievement.
According to Critical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement, the benefits of student learning experiences in the arts are:
Academic: the arts improve reading/language and mathematics skills.
Comprehensive: the arts help create a learning environment conducive to teacher and student success by fostering teacher innovation, a positive professional culture, community engagement, increased student Chart 1: Choir Participation and Academic Performance attendance, effective instructional practice, and school identity.
In Doing Well and Doing Good by Doing Art, UCLA education professor James Catterall and his research team studied students in 8th grade and again at ages 20 and 26. They found that students with intensive involvement in the arts have higher levels of academic achievement and higher rates of college-going and college completion, and that these effects were even stronger for low-income students.
High-arts, low-income students were nearly three times as likely to have earned BA degrees, more than twice as likely to have earned associate degrees, and nearly three times as likely to have earned masters or higher degrees than low-arts, low-income students.
English Language Learners (ELL) from arts-rich schools attend four-year colleges more frequently (78% vs. 58%) and are much more likely to have earned a BA degree by age 26 (58% vs. 33%) than ELL students from arts-poor schools.
The 2010 report, College-Bound Seniors by the College Board reported SAT scores for students with arts instruction:
Students who took four years of arts coursework outperformed their peers who had one half-year or less of arts coursework by 59 points on the verbal portion, 43 points on the math portion, and 62 points on the writing portion of the SAT.
Moreover, students whose arts coursework was in music appreciation or music performance scored an average of 533 (appreciation)/529 (performance) on the verbal portion and 536 (appreciation)/ 538 (performance) on the math portion, outperforming all other arts disciplines in math scores and all but acting/play production in verbal scores.
Singing in choir builds success skills
- According to Critical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement, the benefits of student learning experiences in the arts also include these basics:
- the arts build thinking skills (reasoning ability, intuition, perception, imagination, creativity, and problem-solving);
- social skills (self-confidence, self control, conflict resolution, empathy, and social tolerance); and
- motivation to learn (active engagement, sustained attention, persistence, and risk-taking).
- As reported in the executive summary of Champions of Change: The Impact of Arts on Learning, the key findings across seven in-depth research studies were:
- The arts reach students who are not otherwise being reached.
- The arts reach students in ways that they are not otherwise being reached.
- The arts connect students to themselves, and each other.
- The arts transform the environment for learning.
- The arts provide learning opportunities for adults in the lives of young people.
- The arts provide new challenges for those students already considered successful.
- The arts connect learning experiences to the world of real work.
Singing in choir builds community
- Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds reports that young people use media an average of 7.38 hours per day, and about a third of that time for music/audio purposes.This tendency towards isolation is countered by participating in choir.
- The Chorus Impact Study reports that 43% of children in choirs usually watch one hour or less of television per day.
- More people sing in choirs than participate in any other performing art according to both the NEA’s Survey of Public Participation in the Arts and the Chorus Impact Study, actively creating community.
Singing in choir promotes student engagement
- Most high school students feel bored and disconnected from school, according to Charting the Path from Engagement to Achievement: A Report on the 2009 High School Survey of Student Engagement. Only 41% of students said they attended because of what they learned in classes, yet 82% reported they wanted more opportunities to be creative
- 49% of students selected arts and drama activities as the most highly favored teaching and learning methods in the same report.
- Former Governor Mike Huckabee: “Many kids are bored in school and have nothing there that makes them want to go. If you unlock a child’s capacity for art, whether it is visual arts, theatre, dance or music, that capacity can be the motivator for a child to make the academic grades to stay in the choir or the band. This motivator gives the child a sense of anticipation, hope and interest that otherwise he doesn’t have.”
- 90% of educators agree that singing in choir enhances student creativity.
- 94% of educators in schools with ethnically diverse populations agree that choir can give some students a reason to stay engaged in school who might otherwise be lost.
Singing in choir builds offers new opportunities for learning
- The C.S. Mott Foundation report, New Day for Learning, describes a whole-day approach to learning that includes many places in the community, not just schools.
- Doing Well and Doing Good by Doing Art: “37.2% of low-income students intensively involved in the arts over the secondary school years engage in volunteer work at age 20 than the average student (27.9%).” The level of volunteerism continues to be higher in a statistically significant way for high-arts students through age 26.
- 67% of educators surveyed in the Chorus Impact Study stated that singing in choir makes students more likely to volunteer in the community.
Singing in choir promotes civic engagement
- According to the United States Election Project, on average, 56% of the U.S. population votes in a presidential election, and only 37% in a midterm election.
- Researchers at the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tufts University found that participation in high school performing arts led to a higher rate of voting in early adulthood.
- In Doing Well and Doing Good by Doing Art, James Catterall reports that high arts students (at age 26) are about 15% more likely than low-arts students to register to vote, more than 30% more likely to have voted in the 1996 presidential election (most recent at time of study), and about 20% more likely to have voted in any election in the 24 months prior to the survey panel.
- 96% of adult choral singers report voting regularly in the Chorus Impact Study.
Davies, C. (2011). Making the Case for Your School Choir. 1st ed. [PDF] Chorus America. Available at: https://www.chorusamerica.org/advocacy-research [Accessed 18 Jun. 2014].
- 78% of Americans feel learning a musical instrument helps students perform better in other subjects. Gallup Poll, "American Attitudes Toward Music," 2003
- The schools that produced the highest academic achievement in the United States today are spending 20% to 30% of the day on the arts, with special emphasis on music. International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IAEEA) Test, 1988
- 88% of Americans believe participation in music helps teach children discipline. Gallup Poll, "American Attitudes Toward Music," 2003 Music majors are the most likely group of college grads to be admitted to medical school. Lewis Thomas, Case for Music in the Schools, Phi Delta Kappa, 1994
- Students who were exposed to music-based lessons scored a full 100% higher on fractions tests than those who learned in the conventional manner. Neurological Research, March 15, 1999
- High school music students have been shown to hold higher grade point averages (GPA) than non-musicians in the same school. National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988
- 71% of Americans surveyed by the Gallup Poll believe that teenagers who play an instrument are less likely to have disciplinary problems. Gallup Poll, "American Attitudes Toward Music," 2003
- A study of 7,500 university students revealed that music majors scored the highest reading scores among all majors including English, biology, chemistry and math. The Case for Music in the Schools, Phi Delta Kappa, 1994
- During moments of musical euphoria, blood travels through the brain to areas where other stimuli can produce feelings of contentment and joy-and travels away from brain cell areas associated with depression and fear. Dr. Frederick Tims, reported in AMC Music News, June 2, 1999
- 95% of Americans in a 2003 Gallup Poll believe that music is a key component in a child's well-rounded education; three quarters of those surveyed feel that schools should mandate music education. Gallup Poll, 'American Attitudes Toward Music," 2003
- Martin Gardiner of Brown University tracked the criminal records of Rhode Island residents from birth through age 30, and he concluded the more a resident was involved in music, the lower the person's arrest record. Music Linked to Reduced Criminality, MUSICA Research Notes, Winter 200
- Students of lower socioeconomic status who took music lessons in grades 8-12 increased their math scores significantly as compared to non-music students. But just as important, reading, history, geography and even social skills soared by 40%. Gardiner, Fox, Jeffrey and Knowles, Nature, May 23, 1996
- Middle school and high school students who participated in instrumental music performances scored significantly higher than their non-band peers in standardized tests. University of Sarasota Study, Jeffrey Lynn Kluball; East Texas State University Study, Daryl Erick Trent
- In 2003, 54% of American households reported having a least one musical instrument player, the highest figure since the study began in 1978. Gallup Poll, "American Attitudes Toward Music," 2003
- The College Entrance Examination Board found that students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math than students with no arts participation. College-Bound Seniors National Report. "Profile of SAT Program Test Takers. Princeton, NJ." The College Entrance Examination Board, 2001
- The world's top academic countries place a high value on music education. Hungary, Netherlands and Japan have required music training at the elementary and middle school levels, both instrumental and vocal, for several decades. 1988 International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IAEEA) Test
- Music training helps under-achievers. Students lagging behind in scholastic performance caught up to their fellow students in reading and surpassed their classmates in math by 22% when given music instruction over seven months. Nature, May 23, 1996
- U.S. Department of Education data show that students who report consistently high levels of involvement in instrumental music during the middle- and high-school years show "significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12." James Catterall, Richard Chapleau, and John lwanaga, "Involvement in the Arts and Human Development, " 1999
- A Columbia University study revealed that students in the arts are found to be more cooperative with teachers and peers, more self-confident and better able to express their ideas. These benefits exist across socioeconomic levels. The Arts Education Partnership, 1999
- The nation's top business executives agree that arts education programs can help repair weaknesses in American education and better prepare workers for the 21st century. The Changing Workplace is Changing Our View of Education, BusinessWeek, October 1996
- Music integrated into seventh- and eighth-grade social studies results in better subject performance and better social behaviors and attitudes. National Educational Longitudinal Study, 1988
- When a child learns by experience that music forges direct links between self and world, self-expression becomes more fluent; the music helps interpret "who I am." Growing up Complete, the report of the National Commission on Music Education, 1990
- 96% of respondents to a U.S. Gallup Poll believe participation in a school band is a good way for children to develop teamwork skills. Gallup Poll, "American Attitudes Toward Music", 2003
- A study of 237 second-grade children involved with both piano keyboard training and innovative math software scored 27% higher on proportional math and fractions tests than students only using the math software. Amy Graziano, Matthew Peterson, and Gordon Shaw, Neurological Research 21, March 1999