U.S. Congress Voices Unanimous Support for Boosting Music Education in Schools

Congress Resolution Also Lauds NAMM’s Efforts

March 3, 2005

The U.S. House of Representatives, acting on the recommendation of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, expressed unanimous support for the value of school-based music education when it passed a Concurrent Resolution on Tuesday that says music instruction “is an important component of a well-rounded academic curriculum and should be available to every student in every school.”

Congressional Resolution 45, which passed on a voice vote, also recognized NAMM, the International Music Products Association, for its leadership in emphasizing the importance of school music programs in the academic and social development of children.

The resolution adds Congressional weight to struggles in communities across the country to maintain funding for music and arts education. It comes at a time when those programs are targeted for cuts, despite the overwhelming evidence of music’s benefit to learning.

Central to the debate Tuesday was the inclusion in the federal No Child Left Behind Act that music and arts education is part of the academic core curriculum. This Congressional endorsement re-states the value of music education as a vital element in a quality education for all children.

The text of the resolution, introduced by U.S. Reps. Jim Cooper of Tennessee’s 5th District and Randy “Duke” Cunningham of California’s 50th District , was backed by 21 co-sponsors, reads simply and eloquently: “It is the sense of Congress that music education grounded in rigorous instruction is an important component of a well-rounded academic curriculum and should be available to every student in every school.” The resolution goes on to state, “The Congress recognizes NAMM, the International Music Products Association, for its efforts to emphasize the importance of school music programs in the academic and social development of children.”

“We thank Representatives Cooper and Cunningham and all of their colleagues for continuing their support of efforts to maintain music education funding in our schools,” said Joe Lamond, president and CEO, NAMM, the International Music Products Association. “We at NAMM, and our business networks, will do our part to translate this sense of the Congress expressed today into local action. For so many kids, music is a pathway to success in school—we will continue to work hard to improve access and opportunity for all children in the country.”

U.S. Rep. John R. “Randy” Kuhl Jr., from New York’s 29th District, was one of the resolution’s co-sponsors. He noted in his remarks on the House floor that “research has shown that students’ involvement in their school music program is crucial to a complete education. Musical study develops critical thinking and self-discipline skills, and improves a child’s early cognitive development, basic math and reading abilities, self-esteem, SAT scores, the ability to work in teams, spatial reasoning skills and school attendance.”

U.S. Rep. Cooper, who introduced a similar bill in the previous Congress, which passed the full House on a vote of 402-0, noted in his remarks to the House that music education “helps your high-achieving kids and it helps your low-achieving kids. So this is a truly valuable part of our school curriculum. It should be offered in all of our schools so that all of our children have the chance to learn the joys of music.”

“Although the Department of Education sees music education as a prerequisite to college, and countless studies have shown the vast impact of music education, it is still missing from too many schools, particularly public schools in inner city neighborhoods,” said another co-sponsor, U.S. Rep Danny K. Davis, of Illinois’ 7th District. “Local budget cuts are depriving approximately 30 million students of an education that includes music. It is not only at the local level that is forcing schools to abandon music education, but the lack of federal funding as well.”

Research has consistently shown the wide-ranging value of music education to the full academic and social performance of young people. Specifically, studies show, that early music training has a profound influence on children’s ability to think critically and to reason. From reading scores to math performance to the ability and willingness to fend off use of illegal substances, music education, as well as participation in music-making programs, have proven to be central to a successful academic experience.