Music Education, Aesthetics, and the Measure of Academic Achievement


Grades and test scores are the traditional measurement of academic achievement. Quantitative improvements on standardized scores in Math/Science/Language are highly-coveted outcomes for meeting accreditation standards required for institutional program funding. Music and the Fine Arts, difficult to assess by traditional academic achievement measurement, and often devalued as so-called “luxury” subjects, struggle for necessary funding. Showing measureable collateral value to other academic subjects—such as math—in order to justify music program funding is dubious. To objectify the purpose of music education in terms of its influence on other subjects is to overlook aesthetic value. The scholarly literature recognizes an historical tendency to correlate music activities and aptitude to other subjects (and to intelligence in general), but quantitative cause-effect claims are not supported scientifically. Music participation from childhood helps build productive, well-socialized, excellent people, but to quantitatively trace the cause to music itself remains unproven. To recognize the benefits of music and the arts by aesthetic merit involves practical, holistic views of education not based on quantifiable test scoring.

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Madden, K. , Orenstein, D. , Oulanov, A. , Novitskaya, Y. , Bazan, I. , Ostrowski, T. and Ahn, M. (2014) Music Education, Aesthetics, and the Measure of Academic Achievement. Creative Education, 5, 1740-1744. doi: 10.4236/ce.2014.519194.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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