Robert Estrin - piano expert
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The Importance of Music Education

Why music education is so important for life

Released on November 6, 2013

  
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Hello, this is Robert Estrin, bringing a personal note to you. Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to be engaged by the Music Teachers' Association, to work with many talented youngsters and do some performances. So I thought this is a perfect time to do a video on the importance of music education. I hope you enjoy it.

Welcome. I'm Robert Estrin here at virtualsheetmusic.com and livingpianos.com with a very important subject that it's very close to my heart, the importance of music education. Now is a quite a subject, and we're going to cover just why music education is important, and there are many challenges going on in music education we're going to discuss as well.

Okay. Well, first of all, a little bit of personal information. I come from a musical family. My father, Morton Estrin, has been teaching the piano for decades, has many illustrious students, who've gone on to professional careers. My mother was a school music teacher on violins, stringed instruments, for many years. My sister, Coren Mino is a very successful teacher in the western suburbs of Cleveland. So I've literally grown up with music education. I began my teaching assisting my father with his teaching when I was still in high school, as my sister had done before she went away to the Music Conservatory.

So, you always hear about music being cut in the schools. In fact, it's a timeless problem. I remember back when my mother was teaching years ago, and the first thing always to be cut when there's a budget crisis is the arts. Music programs seem to just go by the wayside again and again. People have very short memories. What is it they should remember?

Well, for example, the Gordon Shaw studies of UC Irvine have shown an increase intelligence tests just from studying the piano. That's right. In control groups where some kids took piano lessons, some kids took computer lessons and a control group they didn't do anything with, and consistently, the kids with the piano lessons not only had increased math scores, but their English scores improved as well. This is pretty amazing, just for studying the piano for a few months.

In fact, they've even shown that just listening to music, classical music in specific - Mozart they did this - the Mozart effect you've probably heard about. So there are many benefits also in being able to be rewarded, being able to perform in public, the confidence that it builds, there are so many benefits. But you know what? That's only a small part of it. Why do I say that? Because everybody's always trying to justify why music education's important. "Well, it helps with math. It helps with this. It helps with cooperation." Well, sure it does. But what about the reason why you study music to begin with?

Music brings great joy and meaning to life. After all, certainly, plumbers and doctors and firefighters and all sorts of people, architects, everybody is important in society. But beyond a certain point, so many jobs are just about survival. And sure, we all need to live and we all need to drive cars and have homes and all that, but beyond that, what about what makes life basically worth living? What brings joy and meaning to the existence? How do we reach other people? Well, that's where music and the arts come in. It's very important. And I think it's very important that people stress the intrinsic value of music education.

Now, not everybody is going to become a professional musician, but that's not the point. The point is that people can understand the musical language and have an appreciation that can last a lifetime and share with family and friends.

So to wrap up, music education has always been the victim of the axe when budgets are cut, which is very shortsighted, because music has many benefits with understanding math and English, being able to work with other people, competing fairly. There's a host of benefits to music, but the most important is music itself, to be able to enjoy listening to music, if that's all you do. And if you play an instrument, boy, the enrichment that brings to you.

So spread the word. We all have to stand up for music education. And I'm so glad that many of you are on the same page with me, and I really welcome hearing from all of you about this. Thanks so much for joining me. Robert Estrin here at virtualsheetmusic.com and livingpianos.com.
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Tony * VSM MEMBER * on April 14, 2016 @7:21 am PST
You are so right - but there will always be Philistines in the political classes the world over!
Sharon Boser on April 13, 2016 @5:51 pm PST
Agreed...Music Ed is always the first to be cut vs. Sports. I always tell my students..."you can always play music when you can no longer play sports". Music is long lasting." Thank you for sharing so many interesting and beneficial topics.
Cindy on April 13, 2016 @3:07 pm PST
I am so glad you emphasized the quality & meaning of life aspect to this issue. I studied piano from age 5 through college. There were a few childhood years when I totally hated it, but luckily my parents didn't push me, but also didn't allow me to quit either, and the phase passed. There are lessons of discipline, perseverance and accomplishment that are almost impossible to replicate in any other setting, I think.

Then came grad school, marriage, family, career, and all of that. There were decades I didn't touch the piano, except maybe to vent frustration, sadly. But now those phases are behind me and as I approach retirement age, I have discovered a renewed love and passion for music on a level I never had before. It is probably the greatest passion in my life now, whether it's learning new repertoire, polishing up old repertoire, comparative listening of the great masters and performers, or in-depth reading on a great variety of musical subjects.

Twenty years ago I never would have guessed that music would play this role in my life, and I am so grateful for the terrific early foundation I was blessed with-- even though I didn't appreciate it at the time!
reply
Robert - host, on April 13, 2016 @3:39 pm PST
I encounter so many people who get to a stage in life when they finally have time to enjoy playing the piano. You many enjoy exploring pianos and videos on my website: www.LivingPianos.com
Marvin Conrad * VSM MEMBER * on April 13, 2016 @8:33 am PST
Well said! Keep promoting the need.
Jasper * VSM MEMBER * on June 4, 2014 @8:09 am PST
What Robert says is so true in my life. Thanks
sue * VSM MEMBER * on November 9, 2013 @10:20 am PST
I really appreciate you making a video on music education.
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