Musically Challenged

Despite the benefits of musical education, University of the Virgin Islands’ students tire of redundancy.


ST. THOMAS – Students on the University of the Virgin Islands’ St. Thomas campus have desired diversity with their musical class selections.

However, student interest has not been enough for the university to make improvements in musical education.

“It’s not that the university doesn’t have music classes, but they lack a variety. Music is to be learned progressively, once you have reached a certain level, then you must continue to progress. Stagnation is the key to unproductivity,” Nyim Haynes, former UVI international relations student  said.

“I’ve taken music classes ever since elementary school, but once I reached the University of the Virgin Islands, musical education became redundant.”

A 2009 study from the journal for Psychology of Music said that children exposed to a multi-year program of music tuition involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal, and practical skills display superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared to their non-musically trained peers.

Despite revealing studies  on the cognitive benefits of musical education, these programs have experienced budget cuts across the nation.

The National Center for Education Statistics reported the drop-out  rates of  high school and college students have declined over the past 30 years. The study also suggested that the average grade point average for high school and college students has dropped slightly.

The drop was largely due to the lack of extra curricular activities for enrolled students to take part in, but  not enough supporting evidence showed the decrease in national GPA, experts said.

“I have always been involved musically at every school I have attended,” Janique Hosier,  St. Thomas resident now  junior at the Mercer University said. “From the time I was in the first grade, picking up my first pair of steel pan sticks, to this day with vocal and piano training, and also still playing the steel pan, I have loved music and it has helped me to stay organized and focus, and most importantly taught me time management.”

Despite strong evidence of a  correlation between academic success and musical education,  no study to date has linked the relationship between education and music.

The American Psychological Association said organized music lessons appear to benefit children’s IQ and academic performance, and the longer the instruction continues, the larger the effect.

“I knew that being involved with music was very beneficial to me, but I could not pinpoint any particular areas in which it has contributed to my learning besides my characteristic such as time management and diligence,” Hosier said.

Music education has many benefits, but ultimately, the university makes the final decision.


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