Press Release

Music Matters: New Research Piece Underscores Importance of Music Across the Lifespan
Mounting Evidence Shows Music Education Boosts Student Achievement in Reading and Math; Helps Students Stay in School

WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 22, 2018 - Last weekNational Public Radio aired a lengthy feature, “The Surprising Benefit of Moving and Grooving with Your Kid,” highlighting the cognitive benefits for preschoolers and their parents who are exposed to rhythm and melodies. It’s not just preschool students seeing gains, a wide body of new research shows that music education plays an important role in social development and academic success throughout K-12 education, with critical skills benefiting adults later in life.

Music Matters, the new condensed guide from the Arts Education Partnership and co-sponsored by the Country Music Foundation and The NAMM Foundation, was released this morning with an arts advocacy panel sharing key research findings. Jane R. Best, Director of the Arts Education Partnership affirms, “Music education not only provides students with foundational skills to learn, it also plays a contributing role in academic achievement across subjects and the development of essential abilities for lifelong success.”

Mary Luehrsen, NAMM Director of Public Affairs echoes that sentiment, “The facts are clear: When students have a chance to play an instrument, sing in a chorus, participate in other musical activities, and in general, have the opportunity to learn music, they are more likely to stay in school – more likely to perform better in English, math, science and second languages. And, as they learn the depth of their abilities through music education, students are building confidence that can last a lifetime. This new summary of cited music research convinces us once again that music education must be part of every school and available for every child.”

Key findings of Music Matters include: 

  • Music students do better in English, math, and science than their peers without music. Researchers at the University of British Columbia found that high school band students have higher achievement scores in English, math and biology than students who are not in band classes.
  • More music and art equal fewer dropouts and a reduced number of suspensions. Scholars from the University of Kansas, evaluating the Music Makes Us program in Nashville, found graduation rates 20 percent higher for students with at least one year of music, and 30 percent higher for those with more than one year of music.  In addition, a longitudinal study from the University of Maryland found that for each additional year of arts education, students were 20 percent less likely to be suspended from school.
  • Music students are better at learning a second language. A study by neuroscientists at the University of Toronto found that students who received early extensive and continued music education showed greater fluency and competence in learning a second language, when compared to non-music students.
  • Musicians have advanced working memory and vocabulary development and can selectively focus and recall tasks better than their non-musician peers. According to researchers from The Dana Foundation, working memory is the ability to retain mentally, control, sequence and manipulate information to complete higher-order tasks, such as reasoning and problem-solving.

Armed with this growing body of research, nearly 100 music industry leaders, notable artists and arts education activists from across the U.S. are meeting with Members of Congress tomorrow, calling for more funding to be made available for music education. “We’re translating knowledge into action this week to reaffirm the need for budgetary support so that all students may experience hands-on music education,” says Luehrsen.

Specifically, the delegation will be speaking with Members of Congress about The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Passed and signed into law in 2015, ESSA identifies music as a core academic subject required for a complete education for all students – and gives more decision-making to states and local districts. Learn more about ESSA:

To view a copy of the Music Matters report, please visit:

About NAMM

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 member companies located in 103 countries. NAMM events and members fund the NAMM Foundation’s efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan. For more information about NAMM, please, call 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.


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