What is the value of music education?

In a previous post I mentioned the fact that art in general and music in particular are not considered to be fundamental to a person’s education. Why is that the case?

Personally, I think I got the answer from an Italian ministry of treasure a few years ago: “Con la cultura non si mangia”, culture will not feed you.

It was used to justify government cuts in education. As small minded and untrue as this statement is, it exemplifies in a few words the sentiment of the people who are shaping the education system: culture does not produce tangible goods therefore it is useless.

A very short-sighted line of thinking to say the least.

If we just consider the mere cash aspect, a simple google search will list hundreds of records showing how much the music industry contributes to the economy of any country, up to more than 800£ million in the UK only.

Italy is one of the greatest treasures under the sky as far as culture goes and yet, museums are closed because they do not have money to pay the staff, orchestras are being shut down and monuments like the colosseum in Rome need to rely on the generosity of private citizens to be kept from falling apart.

Ultimately, it all comes down to the lack of education in liberal arts, which causes unappreciation for the beauty of the past and the present and restricts people’s vision of the future.

In one word: ignorance.

The importance of arts in general and music in particular for a person’s development is not something that is just coming from a follower of Nietzsche like myself (“A life without music is not worth living”), but it is subject of multiple studies and researches (see this article on the Washington Post or this one on a study published on the Journal of Neuroscience).

As musicians, if there is a battle for surviving that we want to fight, this is the one. As human beings, we should fight it even harder as only exposure to beauty in all its forms can prevent humanity from collapsing.

What does art bring to your life?

PS: Anita Collins shares how learning music influences our brain development, and what this means for musical education.

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