We are pleased to share information compiled by the Chorus America organization. Its impact study identified numerous reasons for advocating choruses in schools. The goal is to aid parents and choral leaders build a solid case for having choral music as part of the school curriculum.
As background, Chorus America is the advocacy, research, and leadership development organization that advances the choral field. It supports and serves choral conductors, administrators, board members, and singers with tools, training, peer networking, and access so that organizations like Greater Buffalo Friends of Music and choruses can better contribute to their communities.
Here are three primary reasons parents should advocate for choral music programs in schools.
1. Singing in a chorus is good for children in elementary, middle, and high school and can help them in the future.
Data indicates that an early introduction to choral singing is a building block for life-long learning and social success. Children who sing have academic success. The study also found choral singers exhibit increased social skills, civic involvement, volunteerism, philanthropy, and support of other art forms, versus non-singers.
2. The decline in choral singing opportunities for youth is a major concern.
One in five parents says there are no choir opportunities for their child. More than one in four educators say there is no choir program in their schools. In the past, schools have been a primary source of free opportunities to sing in choruses. Nearly a third (31%) said their school used to have a program.
3. Parent involvement is the key!
Educators report that schools with high parental involvement are significantly more likely to have music programs than schools with low parental influence.
Here are five steps to advocate for funding a chorus in your child’s school.
1. Familiarize yourself with the data available. School boards and administrators will be interested in understanding these facts and statistics that clearly illustrate the impact participation in choral singing has on learning and childhood development.
2. Recruit other parents and music educators to help you build and deliver the business case for arts funding.
3. Identify forums like PTAs and school board meetings. Get on their agenda to present your case.
4. Follow up with school board members and administrators. Make appointments with leaders to discuss this critical issue and obtain commitments for funding.
Facts for making the case that students who participate in the chorus are more successful academically and have more social skills and emotional intelligence.
Statistics supporting these findings are:
1. Academic Improvement
Children who participate in a chorus get significantly better grades. Parents state the following:
a. Higher Grades: 45% state their child receives “All or Mostly A's” in math (vs. 38% of non-choir parents).
b. Achievement in Language Arts: 54% state their child gets “All or Mostly A’s” in English and other language arts classes (vs. 43%).
c. Overall Academic Improvement: 61% say their child’s overall academic performance improved after joining the chorus.
d. Language Arts Skills: 64% say their child’s ability or performance in English/language arts improved since joining a chorus.
2. Social Skills and Emotional Intelligence Improvement
a. Self-Confidence: 71% say their child has become more self-confident.
b. Practice: 71% say their child has become better at practicing in other (non-chorus) activities.
c. Self-Discipline: 70% say their child's self-discipline has improved.
d. Problem Solving: 67% say their child has become better at problem-solving.
e. Participation in Sports: 64% also regularly participate in one or more sports either in or out of school.
f. Physical Fitness: 53% say their child has gotten in better physical condition.
3. Additional Dimensions of Improvement
a. Creativity: 90% say their children are (Very Creative) versus 72% of parents whose children do not sing in a choir.
b. Self-Esteem: 86% state their child has a strong sense of self-worth and self-esteem (vs. 63%).
c. Memory skills: 82% report their child has a (Very Good) memory (vs. 68%).
d. Teachers Agree on all the above!
Support Choral In Schools Today
Choral singing is a beautiful, participatory, and accessible art form. Choral music is the most popular form of public participation in the arts—about one in five people in the U.S. regularly participate in a community chorus or a school or church choir. Moreover, children are far more likely to stay involved with choral singing throughout their lives when exposed early.
Choral singing provides an extraordinarily accessible entry point for arts exposure, with fewer barriers to participation—economic, cultural, and educational—than those posed by other art forms. The voice is a readily available instrument! Furthermore, the costs to establish a choir tend to be lower than for other instrumental music programs.
America’s Chorus Impact Study involved national educators (from a wide range of academic subjects) and parents who completed an online survey.
Download the study at https://chorusamerica.org/sites/default/files/resources/ImpactStudy09_guide.pdf