EVANSTON, Ill. -- At an 11 a.m. press briefing, Saturday, Feb. 20, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting, a Northwestern University neuroscientist will argue that music training has profound effects that shape the sensory system and should be a mainstay of K-­‐12 education.

"Playing an instrument may help youngsters better process speech in noisy classrooms and more accurately interpret the nuances of language that are conveyed by subtle changes in the human voice," says Nina Kraus, Hugh Knowles Professor of Neurobiology, Physiology and Communication Sciences at Northwestern University.

"Cash-­‐strapped school districts are making a mistake when they cut music from the K-­‐12 curriculum," says Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory in Northwestern's School of Communication.

by Dr. William Moody

Revised in December 2009

The mission for directors of school bands is understood inherently by those who think of themselves more often as instrumental music teachers rather than simply as band directors. The basic objective of instrumental music education is that students will learn performance skills in order to understand musical language and to experience the joys of recreating music in the expressive medium of their choice. Music education should prepare students also for a fuller understanding and appreciation of the music they will be hearing the rest of their lives regardless of its style or venue. Efforts to address the National Standards for Music Education in band class by including music theory, music history, improvisation, and composition will help the students be better listeners in adulthood and will make better musicians of those who wish to pursue musical careers or practice music as an avocation in adult life.

A Look at High School Scheduling Practices

by Matthew J. LaPine

"DIES IRAE" - the day of wrath, when judgement is passed.  This is the moment of truth, when I get nervous each year - the time that my high school's guidance department begins the student-scheduling process for the next academic year.  As a choral director in a relatively small, suburban New Jersey public high school, this is my "How am I doing as a teacher?" evaluation.

By Walter Bitner

Article Originally Posted on Off The Podium

Music teachers in school settings often feel a sense of isolation from the activities happening in other classrooms, and a lack of understanding on the part of other teachers and administrators about what it is, exactly, that music teachers teach. There are striking differences in the way teaching and learning happens in the music classroom when compared to the activities happening in other classes. In the current standards-obsessed education climate, appropriate musical activity in the classroom faces real obstacles in being appreciated, understood, and ultimately funded, because it resists being reduced to a checklist of objectives.

by Yohuru Williams

Renaissance High in Detroit, Michigan made the news last month as parents fought to save the highly ranked school's celebrated music program from being terminated. It was only the latest in a long line of communities facing similar cuts from Chicago, Illinois to Manchester, Connecticut.

Detroit parent L'Tanya Toliver best explained the concerns of residents in all of these communities: “We want the opportunity to let our children have band, we want our children to have dance, we want our children to get the fulfillment of the education that they should get, that they deserve.”