Vince DiFiore, who plays trumpet in the band CAKE, has written a lovely piece for cnn.com on the importance of music education. As he notes, participation in music is not only good for the social lives and leadership skills of the students involved, but several studies have now shown a connection between music education and greater success in mathematics.
The joys, challenges, and social benefits of being involved in music programs truly saved me in junior high and high school. I was blessed to be in a school district that valued and supported regular music education for all grades. When I felt trapped and bored in many other classes, I could always challenge myself to perform better and learn new things with my instrument. Playing as part of an ensemble required improving skills in attention, mutual cooperation, and listening to others. The stresses, fears, and problems of the teenage years faded away, at least temporarily, while becoming immersed in play, and most of my close friends were found through music. I hope that all young people can have these experiences, and that we have the wisdom to support music education in our policies and public institutions.