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It is not an understatement to say that music education has been one of the most important parts of our individual and collective development as people across time. The practice of music has been used to entertain, heal, bring people together and most importantly educate. Observing the current conversation surrounding music education and advocacy in schools, it seems that the impact of music has been lost along the way and deemed non-essential. But for us at Save The Music and the thousands of music ed teachers globally who understand the power of music, we know that this is a conversation we must continue to have to shift the narrative back in our favor.

Music education has been proven to have several positive impacts on students. Luckily, we aren’t the only people who have decided to speak on the importance of music education and what it means for every child who needs the spark of creativity in the classroom to explore in ways unlike before. There are hundreds of music ed quotes by experts and prominent figures both inside and outside of the music industry that support this. The best quotes about music education demonstrate why creative school programs that focus on music are so beneficial to the growth and development of today’s students. In addition to using research and anecdotes to explain how vital music education is, we can use many music education advocacy quotes to help get the point across. In light of such, we’ve compiled a number of quotes about music education from important figures who have advocated for the cause.

Music is an expression of culture

Music teaches people about the world and provides a window into other cultures. The more we can connect with others, the more we can learn, work and grow together.

How beautiful would it be if our schools and our education program showed how music is a combination of many different cultures, and cultures are an expression of many kinds of music? There’s a lot for our students, not only from a musical perspective, but also from a global perspective and in showing them how they fit in as part of a bigger world.

Dr. Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education (Source: NAfME interview, July 2021)

The language of music is common to all generations and nations; it is understood by everybody, since it is understood with the heart.

– Gioacchino Rossini (Source: Zanolini, Biografia di Gioacchino Rossini, 1875, A Dictionary of Musical Quotations. Ian Crofton, Donald Fraser, 1985)

Music deserves to be the mandatory second language of all schools in the world.

– Paul Carvel, Belgian Author (Source: Music: Selected Quotes And Words of Wisdom)

Music can change the world, because it can change people.

– Bono (Source: Interview at the 1983 US Music Festival)

Music teaches rhythm, harmony & patience

Some of the greatest minds of all time provide some valuable quotes on music education.

Music creates order out of chaos: for rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed, and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous.

– Yehudi Menuhin, Violinist (Source: Yehudi Menuhin, 1972. “Theme and Variations,” New York: Stein and Day)

Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.

– Plato (Source: The Republic)

The world is in great need of more music education. When students play music, it allows a part of their artistic mind to express itself, which is very important in helping to balance a child intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally.

– Paul Reed Smith, President of PRS Guitars (Source: Guitar Center Music Foundation Interview)

The heart of a music is its rhythm. The heart of rhythm section music is the rhythm.

– Wynton Marsalis (Source: “Wynton Marsalis Toots His Own Horn, ” Interview with Miles Marshall Lewis, October 8, 2013)

Music helps children develop better human connections and social skills

World-renowned performers, public figures, novelists and scientists are a constant and reliable source of music advocacy quotes when it comes to promoting music as a vessel for creativity and relationship building.

…for music alone can abolish differences of language or culture between two people and invoke something indestructible within them.

– Irene Nemirovsky (Source: Suite Francaise – Novelist)

Music ‘brings us together, helping us reflect upon who we are, where we have come from, and what lies ahead.’ The arts and music transcend ‘languages, cultures, and borders’ … and helps ‘exchange ideas and styles and share in the artistic vibrancy born from diverse experiences and traditions.’

– Former USA President, Barack Obama (Source: 2010 message to the World Choir Games in Shaoxing, China)

We are the same. There is no difference anywhere in the world. People are people. They laugh, cry, feel, and love, and music seems to be the common denomination that brings us all together. Music cuts through all boundaries and goes right to the soul.

– Willie Nelson (Source: Nelson, Willie; McMurtry, Larry, 2003. The Facts of Life: And Other Dirty Jokes. Random House Digital. p. 119. ISBN 9780375758607)

Research shows that at-least some musical education has a positive impact on social and cognitive development of children. And these effects are long lasting – better hearing, better motor skills, improved memory, better verbal and literacy skills.

– Alan Harvey, Musician and Neuroscientist (Source: TedxTalks – Your Brain on Music | Alan Harvey)

Music cultivates deeper thinking and attentiveness

Music ed quotes from doctors testify to the benefits of music education to develop more robust minds.

The musician is constantly adjusting decisions on tempo, tone, style, rhythm, phrasing, and feeling–training the brain to become incredibly good at organizing and conducting numerous activities at once. Dedicated practice of this orchestration can have a great payoff for lifelong attentional skills, intelligence, and an ability for self-knowledge and expression.

Ratey John J., MD. (Source: A User’s Guide to the Brain. New York: Pantheon Books, 2001)

…there is little doubt that regular exposure to music, and especially active participation in music, may stimulate development of many different areas of the brain. Takako Fujioka and her colleagues, for example, looking at children with a single year of violin training (compared to children with no training), recorded striking changes in activity in the brain’s left hemisphere. In terms of brain development, musical performance is every bit as important educationally as reading or writing.

– Oliver Sacks, Neurologist & Writer (Source: Musicophilia: Six Questions for Oliver Sacks Interview, 2009)

Music has positive effects on academic achievement

Participation in music and other creative programs leads to improvements in memory retention, information recall, concentration, and perseverance that help students achieve greater success in a broad range of subjects. Music education quotes from professional educators and politicians support this.

The arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic… music, dance, painting, and theater are all keys that unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment.

– William Bennett, Former US Secretary of Education (Source: pg. 35, First Lessons, A Report on Elementary Education in America, Washington, DC., U. S. Department of Education, 1986.)

Learning improves in school environments where there are comprehensive music and arts programs. They increase the ability of young people to do math. They increase the ability of young people to read. And most important of all, they’re a lot of fun.

– Former President Bill Clinton (Source: The White House at Work, 2000)

Musicians are team players

There are many music ed quotes that suggest children who get involved in music also become better team players, as music is a universal unifier that brings people together and develops stronger teamwork skills.

The teamwork involved in a musical performance is a good example of how all teamwork should work in an organization, on a project, in a family.

– Melissa Lutz, Principal and the Director of Marketing at Champlin Architecture (Source: The Awesome Power of Teamwork, July 2019)

Musicians make great employees

Looking for a quote about music education and work aptitude? Some incredibly well-respected figures have spoken out on this:

The things I learned from my experience in music in school are discipline, perseverance, dependability, composure, courage and pride in results… Not a bad preparation for the workforce!

– Gregory Anrig, President, Educational Testing Service (Source: direct source is unverifiable but quote is attributed to individual.)

There is a practical reason for music education: it teaches people to think, to solve problems, to take risks, to think independently, to be an entrepreneur and innovator. The virtues of music education are the virtues of free enterprise in general and of a high tech, knowledge based society in particular: flexibility, adaptability, inventiveness, even playfulness.

 – William E. LaMothe, C.E.O., Xerox Company (Source: direct source is unverifiable but quote is attributed to individual.)

Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.

– Frank Zappa (Source: Real Frank Zappa Book)

How to use quotes about music education

Music and children quotes are a fantastic way of promoting music programs, encouraging students, and garnering support around the importance of music in academic curriculums. Teachers can use the music ed quotes listed above or add more of their own, and use them in creative ways for the best impacts:

– Post them in classrooms

– Share them with colleagues

– Add some into newsletters and promotional materials

– Link quotes to teaching themes and include some on worksheets and in teaching curriculum

– Include inspirational music education quotes on your website and social media pages

However they are used, the importance of music education quotes should not be underestimated for their ability to rouse motivation and enthusiasm for the arts.

As one of the leading music charities for children, we’re passionate about promoting music education as well as adapting to online music education. If you’d like to know more about what we do and how to get involved in advocating for music, you can find details on our music advocacy tools.