The Music Empowers Foundation Blog

A Musical Fix for American Schools

Oct 16, 2014

Photo Credit: Denver Post/Getty Images

Joanne Lipman says, "American education is in perpetual crisis. Our students are falling ever farther behind their peers in the rest of the world. Learning disabilities have reached epidemic proportions, affecting as many as one in five of our children. Illiteracy costs American businesses $80 billion a year."

In her most recent Wall St. Journal essay, she proposes a different approach: music training. She says that a growing body of evidence suggests that music could trump many of the much more expensive “fixes” that we have thrown at the education system.

To read more about her theory, check out the full essay in the Wall St. Journal.

READ: A Musical Fix for American Schools

Documentary: Music Education and the Brain

Sep 22, 2014

Anita Collins commissioned a short film to be made to help music educators, parents and students understand the benefits of music education. The film includes interviews with a prominent neuroscientists, innovative music educators and students. 

“The benefits of music education has been researched for decades. Most recently neuroscientists have been excited about the significant differences they have seen between the brain functions of musicians, when compared with non-musicians. It has become clear that music education before the age of 7 has the greatest benefits to brain development," said Collins.

Check out the documentary and full story on Anita Collins' website:

READ: Documentary: Music Education and the Brain

Musicians' Brains Are Different From Everybody Elses', According to Science

Aug 25, 2014

The latest research on music and the brain has revealed an amazing connection with memory. According to scientific research, trained musicians can create, encode and retrieve memories more rapidly and accurately than non-musicians.

Children with one to five years of musical training were able to remember 20% more vocabulary words than children without such training. Musicians who began their training as children have also been shown to learn new languages more quickly.

For the best effect, experts reccomend that children should begin music training by 7-years-old. For the full story, visit Music.Mic and read Tom Barnes' article. 

READ: Musicians' Brains Are Different From Everybody Elses', According to Science

100,000 Reasons to Celebrate

Aug 19, 2014


Milestones!  They are an important part of life.  Maybe you’ve just enjoyed a major birthday or anniversary.  Perhaps you’ve recently attended a class reunion.  Whatever the occasion, milestones are a chance to reflect, take stock and celebrate.

At the Music Empowers Foundation we too have reached a milestone and I definitely think it is one worth noting. 

Just recently, we surpassed 100,000 fans on Facebook. 
Over the past four years, Facebook has played a significant role in the Music Empowers story by helping us to connect with the growing community of music and arts education supporters like you.  It has brought us together to realize the shared mission of bringing music education and its myriad of benefits to as many kids as possible.  So far we’ve done pretty well together. 

With your help, Music Empowers Foundation has been able to award over $700,000 in grants to organizations that provide music education to over 200,000 kids.

In order to further our shared mission and yes, to celebrate the 100,000 Facebook followers milestone I am writing to announce the Music Empowers #100for100 campaign and to ask you to donate $100 to the Music Empowers Foundation.  

Just $100 from you could: 

        > Fund music lessons for one child for a year.

        >Fund half of a classroom music program that reaches up to 200 kids.

        >Fund a guitar for a child who can’t wait to start learning to play it.

Any amount that you choose to give will be greatly appreciated, but every Music Empowers supporter who donates $100 or more will receive a Music Empowers t –shirt and be recognized by name on our #100for100 Wall of Thanks, which will be featured on the Music Empowers website and on our Facebook page.
Make a difference right now by donating and joining the Music Empowers #100for100 campaign.  Together we have done so much in a short time, but we all know that there are still so many kids who have little or no chance to learn, play and create music.  With your support we can continue our shared mission….and make a change.
Thank you, and have a great rest of the summer!
Andy Davis
Music Empowers Foundation

READ: 100,000 Reasons to Celebrate

Music Education Helps Kids Improve Language, Reading

Aug 11, 2014

As educators and music supporters, we often assume that learning to play a musical instrument or singing can lead to improved reading and foreign language skills. Well, now a new study proves exactly what we knew all along. 

The study shows that neural connections made during musical training can promote the brain for other aspects of human communication. Children in the study, whi were musically trained at nine  and 10 year old, got better reading scores and also with better ability at processing sounds and  language.

Overall, the study proved that more and earlier is better when it comes to music education. For the details on the study, check out the full story from PressTV


READ: Music Education Helps Kids Improve Language, Reading

How Important is Music Education?

Jul 14, 2014

Ever wonder how important music education is to the developing mind? By exposing children to a variety of instruments and genres, their overall education experience is enhanced, as well as their ability to learn. Music helps students to develop in a more complete sense. Instead of developing in an intellectual way only, these children develop socially and emotionally. In addition to the developmental functions of music education, there are also many skills that are learned from it. Perseverance and work ethic are just a few examples.

Music makes a great hobby. It is both enjoyable and rewarding. Music gives an opportunity for kids to set goals and to experience the feeling of working hard and achieving their goals. This experience is a scaled down version of what they will be experiencing in the real world at some point.

Music therapy is another way that music can help students. There are infinite examples of how successful music therapy can be. It can serve as a link to past memories, as well as an inspiration for future success. Sometimes music can give kids a way to express themselves in even the hardest of ways.

Music education has endless benefits and hardly any negatives. Sure, it is expensive to put in the curriculum, but it is worth it. Read the full article from Jennifer Cerbasi linked below to read personal testimonies and scientific facts that help to back up the point. Music education is a wonderful opportunity that every child should have exposure to.

READ: How Important is Music Education?

A Well-Rounded Education: NYC is Spending $23 Million to Revive the Arts

Jul 07, 2014

For many years, the classroom focus has been on science, technology, engineering and math. But, not every student wants to be an engineer, doctor or scientist. 

That's why the New York City mayor will be spending a whopping $23 million to boost arts instruction especially in undeserved middle and high schools in next year’s fiscal budget. The spending plan also allocates $5 million for the hiring of 120 certified teachers, $2 million to launch a support team in each borough to guide hiring and curriculum, as well as $7.5 million to spruce up facilities (some of which are dilapidated) at schools.

Read the entire story from Lorraine Chow on NationSwell.

READ: A Well-Rounded Education: NYC is Spending $23 Million to Revive the Arts

Another Study Proves Link Between Music Education and the Brain

Jun 26, 2014

A study carried out at Boston Children's Hospital revealed that those trained in music from a very younf age benefit from improved executive brain function. The part of the brain responsible for cognitive processes such as problem solving, behaviour regulation and the processing and retention of information was more active in the musically trained individuals. 

The study explained that, while many schools are cutting music programs and spending more and more time on test preparation, the findings suggest that musical training may actually help to set up children for a better academic future.

Read the full story from Rosie Pentreath.


READ: Another Study Proves Link Between Music Education and the Brain

Researchers Put Two Schools to the Ultimate Musical Test

Jun 12, 2014

 According to a study published in the journal of Psychology of Music, children who are exposed to a multi-year music program display superior cognitive performances in reading skills compared to their non-musically trained peers. 

Numerous studies have reported positive associations between music education and increased abilities.  This study in particular, compared two US elementary schools to see if music education really did make a difference.  One school incorporated routinely trained music lessons and the other school provided none.  At the end of the three year period both groups of students were individually tested on their reading skills. 

The results found that the music-learning group had significantly better vocabulary and verbal sequencing scores than the non-music-learning control group did.  The authors concluded that the research showed enough evidence to prove that educators should be incorporating a variety of approaches to their curriculum, including music.

This study goes into further detail about WHEN and WHAT educators should be teaching. Read the full story from Science Daily.

READ: Researchers Put Two Schools to the Ultimate Musical Test

Music In The Classroom

May 22, 2014

Using music in the classroom has been proven to be effective when done properly.  Creating a fun, structured environment for children can help inspire creativity and productivity.  Music education, especially at the elementary level has become imperative to a successful school’s curriculum.  Ultimately, researchers will agree that music really can have a positive effect on children in the classroom.  

The Reader’s Digest published an article, “You Can Raise Your Child’s IQ” to prove that pre-school children taught with games and songs showed an IQ average of 10 to 20 points higher than those who were not exposed to music.  Studies also found that musically exposed children, at the age of 15, had higher reading and math scores.  

To find out more about this study read the full article from Professor Fazio.

READ: Music In The Classroom