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S n a p s h o ts Fast Fact: O n e in f o u r te a c h e rs m is s e d


Advocates for the arts in schools
claim that music makes a difference
in students academic and personal
growth. But what does the research
really tell us? Scientists at the
University o f S outhern California
(USC) are trying to find out. Early
results of th eir study show that
learning to play music can significantly
affect childrens brain developm ent
during the elem entary school years.
Early findings show that child ren s
knowledge builds over time, based
on the experiences theyve h ad along
the way. Researchers contend that the
sharper students becom e, the m ore
they can learn.
We say th at when p eople are th e back of a whole process of O ther studies have shown possible
inspired, they create, th a t it all im agination and knowledge and links between musical training in early
comes in a rush, USC neuroscientist criticism o f w hat has com e b efo re. childhood and structural changes in
and au th o r A ntonio R. Damasio In o th e r words, th ere are signs the brain, but researchers contend this
told Education Week as the study th a t c h ild re n s brain structure study will provide m ore insights.
was beginning. T h a t m o m en t of develops b e tte r w hen exposed to The USC study is following several
inspiration generally com es on training in music. dozen children, mostly from low-

MYTWOCENTS y Shelette R. Pleat (@ SheletteRPIeat): I am th in kin g o f m aking

th e "M o b ile O ffice" an im p o rta n t to o l and strategy.
What is one new tool
Ms. M athies (@ M sM athies): D eveloping a feedback loop
or strategy you plan to y to nurture g ro w th versus grades.
implement this year?
Leslie (@LeslieLeads): 1. Sm art use o f G oogle p latfo rm .
y 2. Going green and using it fo r setting th e to n e fo r
productive staff d evelo p m en t and sharing.

6 Principal September/October 2016

10 o r m o r e school days in t h e 2 0 1 3 -2 0 1 4 school y e a r edu c atio n w eek research center , j u n e 2016

incom e and bilingual families in Los wrote in their jo u rn al article. It is ESSA speak:
Angeles. T he participating children o f p articular im portance that we
were 6 and 7 when a portion of them show these effects in children from
C o n s u lta tiv e
began to participate in the heralded disadvantaged backgrounds. Process
El Sistema music instruction program E arlier studies also suggest that T he Every S tudent Succeeds Act
th at started in V enezuela an d has music instruction can help childrens (ESSA) presents an opportunity to
gone global. brains develop. This growing body of create m ore effective education
The L.A. P hilharm onics Youth evidence could build an even stronger policies by ensuring that parents,
O rchestra Los Angeles, the H eart case that children in all com m unities educators, and other leaders are all
o f Los Angeles com m unity center, can benefit trem endously from at the table to develop state and
and two elem entary schools are exposure and instruction in strong local policies and practices.
partnerin g in the study. T he children music programs. The consultative process requires
get free instrum ents and intensive It signals a challenge for many states and communities to convene
training from adult musicians, and principals and schools: how to provide discussions before drafting plans
occasionally have MRIs or o th er tests child ren with this opportunity to th at reflect a shared vision. But
to m easure brain activity. thrive, w h ether at school or with what does it m ean to properly
Early findings o f the USC study p artn ers in the community. consult with stakeholders? Here are
published in the February 2016 a few guiding principles:
issue o f Frontiers in Psychology Stakeholders participating in the
show that children exposed to process should be representatives
music instruction for two years o f those named in the law.
are more able than their peers to This stakeholders group should
identify changes in musical pitch on initially convene to define how
the piano and have developed m ore the consultative process will be
auditory pathways than their peers. designed and the desired outcomes.
The process should then:
W h y does this matter?
Auditory processing is linked to the Be based on affirmative
developm ent o f speech and language, interactions between colleagues;
according to USCs Brain an d Produce collaborative
Creativity Institute. discussions, which should include
O u r findings dem onstrate th a t goal-setting guiding principles;
music ed ucation has an im p o rtan t Be sustained, with stakeholders
role to play in childhood developm ent participating in discussions
and add to the converging evidence at the decision-making,
th at music train in g is capable o f im plem entation, and evaluation
shaping skills th a t are ingredients stages; and
o f success in social an d academ ic Be transparent and open to
develop m en t, th e researchers the public.

If the consultative process has

n o t been initiated, or is stalled,

* Nikol Baker (@ lakebaker2): H ig h -u tility vocabulary, g ro w th mindset,

and effective grading practices.
a stakeholder can initiate
(or re-initiate) the process.
Principals should be proactive

* Joe Rodia (@Jsrodia): Grade-level reading groups w ith th e principal

and genius hour fo r grades 3-5.
in taking part in the process and
ensuring that school leaders
voices are heard. For m ore
W a n t to connect w ith your peers? Check o u t th e list o f T w itte r chats inform ation about these guidelines
and o th e r professional learn in g activities planned fo r N ational for the consultative process, visit
Principals M o n th , w w w .p rin cip alsm o n th .o rg

Principal September/October 2016 7

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