Leigh McLaren is a Senior Student Advisor at Berkleemusic.com. She has a bachelors in Music Business, and Masters in Higher Education. Leigh is a vocalist, who has concentrated primarily in Jazz and Musical Theater.

Berkleemusic Advisor Leigh McLarenMusic education is one of the most important forms of education. Which, I suppose, is obvious coming from me because I work at Berklee. However, it is not just me who stresses the importance of educating through music. Music has been known to help heal brain injuries with Therapeutic Music Interventions. Music has given troubled kids an outlet for their boredom, frustration, or even depression in school. It has also even proven to help students do better on their math tests. There are articles upon articles, and tons of research that state how music education is so important, and yet music educators often end up pushed against the wall trying to defend their programs so they do not get cut. People often fail to realize the significance of education through music, and how it can really make an impact.

Eight years ago, I had the opportunity to teach at a music camp in Newton, Massachusetts for 2 months, and that was one of the most amazing summers that I have ever had. Each week there would be a new set of kids who would spend the week learning different aspects of music; theory, history, performance, songwriting, etc. During that week the kids would break into bands, and write a complete song to perform for their parents on Friday. As you can imagine, some songs were better than others, but I have never seen kids ages 9-12 so focused on anything, as they would be when they were working on their song, or with their bands. You would see kids settle disagreements, teach each other different aspects of theory, and collaborate in a way that amazed me. I remember watching some of the performances at the end of the week, and being astounded at the discipline that students showed in a week.

That summer really showed me how important it is that kids, and adults have a musical outlet. To some people it’s playing in a band, to others it’s composing, and to few it’s studying, analyzing and breaking down the works of anyone from Beethoven, to John Cage.

So, as you, a “wanna be” music educator, struggle through that Music Theory 301 course, or that Harmony 2 course, just remember how important that it is to have that education, and be able to pass it along to the generation coming up behind you- or even next to you. Music has the ability to grow, challenge, and even repair the brain like nothing else does, so keep pushing through those courses, and pushing against those who doubt the value of music education.


“In every successful business…there is one budget line that never gets cut. It’s called ‘Product Development’ – and it’s the key to any company’s future growth. Music education is critical to the product development of this nation’s most important resource – our children.”
- John Sykes — President, VH1

Berkleemusic’s next term begins on September 24th, 2012.

Find out more at berkleemusic.com or contact a Student Advisor:

1-866-BERKLEE (USA) | +1 617 747 2146 (Intl) | advisors@berkleemusic.com

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    I am one of those people who has a Bachelor of Music Education degree and got cut three years ago in my school district. I was teaching elementary general music for grades K-6. We had a fantastic program going that fed into the middle/high schools. Currently students are entering middle school with absolutely no experience with music and those teachers have to start at square one. It’s very difficult to build a middle/high school program without the students being musically educated on the primary level. Our district has no intentions of bringing it back. It’s extremely sad for the students. They want it, need it and most of all deserve it! I got assigned to a first grade classroom (without a multiple subject credential) and am going to probably be without a job soon because I haven’t passed section 2 of the CSET test. I currently hold a single subject credential/music, but that isn’t good enough for the general classroom. I want so much to return to teaching music! Hopefully someday soon.
    Thank you so very much for your article, as you can tell, it really struck a nerve with me. :)

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