U.S. House Resolution Supporting School-Based Music Education Passes Unanimously

Resolution Demonstrates Congress’ Continued Support of the Importance of Music Education for All Children

April 25, 2007

Members of Congress discussed the benefits and importance of school-based music education for children on the House floor today, resulting in the passage of House Concurrent Resolution 121. After some discussion, the Resolution was passed unanimously, showing a display of continued support from Congress for music education as part of a complete education for all children.

NAMM recently met with Reps. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Jon Porter (R-Nev.), providing them with research outlining the many social, developmental and educational benefits for school-aged children who receive music education in the school curriculum. Reps. Cooper and Porter presented the bi-partisan Resolution with strong support last year, and this year, more than 25 co-sponsors signed the Resolution.

The Resolution states that learning music in schools is important because it develops skills needed by the 21st-century workforce such as critical thinking, creative problem solving, effective communication and teamwork; keeps students engaged in school and makes them more likely to graduate; and helps students achieve in other academic subjects such as math, science and reading.

“A lot of folks who have had the privilege of a music education take it for granted,” said Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.). “But 30 million or more of our children across this country every day are being deprived of that chance to not only experience the joy of music but as my colleagues have mentioned, the increased and enhanced learning abilities that music offers and also the ability of music to deter people from gangs and drugs and other undesirable activities…Whether it’s band or whether it’s orchestra or whether it’s students on their own learning the guitar or other instruments, it’s a wonderful way to not only enjoy life but to enhance their skills.”

"My passion for music began in the first grade with my parent’s encouragement for which I am deeply grateful,” said Rep. Jon Porter (R-Nev.). “It has been the greatest gift. Music brings people together whether it is at church, in school or at a concert. The discipline and teamwork I learned throughout the years, playing individually or collaboratively, have been invaluable lessons applicable to every aspect of my life."

“One of the basic reasons that every child must have an education in music is that music is a part of the fabric of our society,” said Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.). “The intrinsic value of music for each individual is widely recognized in the many cultures that make up American life. Music helps shape individual abilities and character. Success in society is predicated on success in school. Skills learned through the discipline of music transfer to study skills, communication skills and the cognitive skills useful in every part of the curriculum. Participation in music brings countless benefits to every individual throughout life. The benefits may be psychological, spiritual or physical. I ask my colleagues to support this Resolution and support the next generation of music lovers.”

“Research has shown that students’ involvement in their school music program is crucial to a complete education,” said Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.). “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, ability to work in teams, spatial reasoning skills and school attendance. In an analysis by the U.S. Department of Education [outlining] data on more than 25,000 secondary school students, research has found that students who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years showed significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12 regardless of a student’s socio-economic status.”

“This Resolution expressing support for music education is a message from the U.S. Congress that music education is a critical element of a complete education for all children,” said Mary Luehrsen, director of public affairs and government relations at NAMM. “The Resolution also serves to remind states and local communities to assure access to music education for all students and that music education stands along side other core academic subjects in helping students achieve in school and in life. Music and arts education are, for many students, the reason for coming to and staying in school. This Resolution supports the ongoing work of educators, parents and citizens who believe that music education is not a frill or extracurricular activity—it is basic to a whole education for every child.”

Co-sponsors of the bill included Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.), Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Rep. John Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.), Rep Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.), Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.), Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas), Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), Rep. Dennis Moore (D-Kan.), Rep. James Moran (D-Va.), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, (D-D.C.), Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.), Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.), Rep. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Ma.), Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.).