Apr 5, 2010

A Case for the Arts

Alongside widespread concerns over shrinking budgets, there seems to be a lot of focus on cutting down course offerings to only the absolute barebones “essentials”. Unfortunately, that means programs like music and painting are usually the first on the chopping block. That’s bad news for any student who looks forward to art as a brief respite from the regular scholarly rigor of tests and lectures. Obviously, art classes provide an essential opportunity to indulge in the creative over the analytical, and give many a much sought-after avenue for self-expression. But is there more value to art class than simple creativity? Could creating art actually make you smarter?

As scientists learn more and more about how the brain functions, certain aspects of human thought become a focus in an effort to explain and possibly boost mental performance. Aspects like intelligence and creativity are of particular interest and in the quest to unravel the secrets behind these dauntingly complex functions, a few interesting correlations have been discovered.

Music lessons, for example, can actually increase IQ. Other studies point to improvements in attention, memory, reading, and science and math.

These benefits stem from a variety of activities, such as acting, dance, singing, playing an instrument, and the visual arts.

We’ve already explored the benefits of music in a few different forms, including the so-called “Mozart Effect” and the practical benefits of musicianship. As modern science continues to uncover the many benefits of practicing the arts, students should think about taking up an elective that interests them. If your particular choice is not offered by your school, think about checking out an after-school alternative and talk to your school administration to see if you can get course credit. Finally, make it known that you value arts education and take action before these important courses fall to a limited budget.

1 comment:

Jonathan Lopez said...

Check out this article from eSchool News on a new tool that links education in the arts with 21st century skills: