Music Literacy is important By Evan McCord

Starting with the Young.

Music literacy is very important for young people because it helps build a strong foundation based on critical thinking, working in tandem, the significance of dedication, the importance of knowing one’s duties, and the prominence of creativity in everyday life. These skills help kids become better students, and prepare them to be a part of a workforce in any career path.

I listened to one Richard Gill lecture on the topic of music programs for youths. Richard Gill’s lecture, “The Value of Music Education”, started with his explanation of what music is to him. Richard Gill states that music is “abstract” with no connotations, this allows the kids to think for themselves the meaning behind the note progressions (Gill).

Afterwards he explains his concept of music as he shares the importance of music education with the audience. He says “With children, repetition and putting them in a circumstance where they are offering ideas is vital” (Gill). With this statement Gill gives a strong argument, for furthering music education support because he shows how music learning is useful in helping teach students to understand beyond the relative and to make connections across subjects through learning thought processes with critical thinking. This directly connects to work readiness because often while employed in a professional workplace one must think for themselves and discern which tasks should be prioritized by understanding underlying connotations to the work.

How is this a Literacy though?

Before being able to show the benefits of music literacy, we must first define literacy by itself. Using Jennifer Nelson’s "Teaching in the #Ageofliteracy. (Cover Story)" from Literacy today, one could see that literacy can also be defined as “the ability to access information” (Nelson). Nelson also shows how accessing information has changed from just reading and writing to many facets of technology such as code, the internet, and online databases.

How does that definition translate to Music Literacy?

Upon supplementary research on the topic to relate a definition to music it was discovered that a person capable of music literacy could be defined as a person who “is able to understand and engage with music in a number of different ways, including the creative, responsive and performative artistic processes. He or she is able to perform music in a manner that illustrates careful preparation and reflects an understanding and interpretation of the selection” (Blake).

My little brother who always under-dressed learned the importance of image with context to situation.

These definitions helped me define music literacy in my own words as the ability to read, interpret, perform, listen to, and coordinate music in patterns based off of the information written, recorded, or performed by another. I was able to come to this conclusion not only from my research but also based off of my extensive experience in the field.

My musical experience extends beyond just playing an instrument; however, I have played an instrument from the time I was eleven till twenty-two, which is half of my life. I have played Trumpet, Trombone, French horn, Drums, Pit Percussion, Kit, and Bass Guitar.

I was only able to learn these instruments through many months, years, or even a decade of dedication and practice. These experiences of learning an instrument show I have performed music showing my music literacy as it pertains to dedication. I have been able to expand this dedication into my schooling.
Many of my friends record their own music and I have helped in the process, this connects with the multimedia facet of music literacy as it prepared me to record data in my high level physics course at the Washington State University, and in the future at my research position wherever that may be.
Music literacy is useful in many ways, but an important tool for today would be the familiarization of students with the ever growing technological tools in the present and the future.

In many workplaces and classrooms today, adults and students alike are required to handle many facets of technology ranging from processes as simple as sending and recieving electronic mail, to harder procedures as writing computer code, and even to more action based tasks such as recording data, conversations, or telecommunicating business meetings or lectures. All of these concepts can be learned through music programs.

In music classes students have to record performances, set up microphones, live stream performances, and even e-mail these files to judges.
All of these processes sets up the youth involved in music studies to be prepared for further technological workplace interactions. Although further training may be necessary, youths that are already well versed in the knowledge described above will have an advantage from their prior experiences.

In "If We Build It They Will Come: Using Music Technology To Reach "The Other 80%" In Secondary School Programs," David Williams and Rick Dammers show that these skills are already attained in music programs, but with proper funding more avenues for technology can be brought in to broaden these already in place benefits. Dammers and Williams show this by displaying innovative technologies such as garage band, a recording studio application that can be used on a tablet, this is a hope to potentially attract students back into music as well as proving that the funding will reciprocate (Williams).

This shows how with more funding music programs could utilize many different tools to increase attendance in music programs while stimulating technological learning in none adept students.

These conclusions, which Dammers and Williams discuss in "If We Build It They Will Come: Using Music Technology To Reach "The Other 80%" In Secondary School Programs,” add weight to the argument that using modern technologies in music education is highly beneficial and rewarding. Although music literacy benefits the workforce it is still an issue that the participation country wide is steadily declining.

In “Into the Deep: Mindful Music Learning”, Vicki Lind writes about the learning benefits of music education. In her article she shows correlation between deeper learning from students who learn how to play instruments.

Before Lind shows these correlations she gives past examples of important people in education stating that there is a “need for students to think critically.” By showing this need she gives herself an opportunity to show how music studies can help student think critically in all aspects in life.

She supports this by showing how music studies force children to reflect on their work and dissect the greater whole in to smaller, more manageable pieces.

Based off of my personal experiences with music learning I have to concur with Lind as my music studies often provided my with inspiration on how to approach my math homework.

By approaching my math homework the way I learned how to play the trumpet in elementary school I was able to leap forward three years in my math studies completing aalgebra in the sixth grade.
My music literacy improved my learning experience throughout my schooling even up until now.

I was able to build off of my early musical schooling at home as I have listened to countless genres of music as well as played many of them in some form and I was in marching band in high school, Jazz band in middle school, and did a short stint in a punk band as the drummer.

By participating in many styles of play, I have shown that I can access these music knowledges through my music literacies.
From these experiences I have learned how to be a part of a working system and know the importance and meaning of the roll I play.

I also have learned how to dedicate my time to learn the ins and outs of my required tasks. I apply these useful tools learned through my music education to my job stocking at Costco.

I do this by working with my four hundred and eighty coworkers to keep the store running as we process on average above five million dollars of sales a week.

I also understand my role to focus on my section of stocking in the morning and to help others as soon as I am finished because even though I am only paid to stock my section, if we do not open on time we lose money as a whole. This could adversely affect the company in the long run.

Lastly I dedicate my time to learning the system in place that processes up to eight and a half million dollars of sales a week as to better understand what all is happen to operate on that scale, by doing so I am a greater benefit to Costco.

Music Literacy has been a helpful tool for me and millions of people.

I hope one day it can be as useful for even more students as it has been for me and so many others.

"Music is a world within itself. It's a language we all understand" Stevie Wonder

Works Cited

Blake, Caitrin. “Defining Music Literacy: How Music Education Boosts Student Learning.” Concordia Nebraska Online, Concordia University, 17 May 2016,

Gill, Richard. “The Value of Music Education.” TEDxSydney, 19 Oct. 2016, Sydney, Australia, CarriageWorks, YouTube,

Lind, Vicki R. "Into The Deep: Mindful Music Learning." General Music Today 27.2 (2014): 18-21. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Oct. 2016.

Nelson, Jennifer L. "Teaching in the #Ageofliteracy. (Cover Story)." Literacy Today (2411-7862) 33.1 (2015): 18-21. Academic Search Complete. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.

Williams, David Brian, and Rick Dammers. "If We Build It They Will Come: Using Music Technology To Reach "The Other 80%" In Secondary School Programs." Illinois Music Educator 74.3 (2014): 68-70. Academic Search Premier. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.

Wonder, Stevie. Sir Duke. Stevie Wonder. Rec. 22 Mar. 1977. Stevie Wonder, 1977. Vinyl recording.


Evan McCord, Barbara Johnson, and Irvin Smith

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