The Power of Practice
Most arts education programs have focused on transmitting skills and proficiencies in their specific disciplines and graduating talented students doing high-quality work. Despite the growing momentum behind the claims that ensemble music can drive social and emotional growth, we have only initial, and largely correlational, evidence for the impact of music, or music as a part of broader arts education programs, on these forms of development.
From 2015 to 2019, a team of teaching artists and researchers from WolfBrown and Longy School of Music of Bard College worked closely with program staff at 12 collaborating El Sistema-inspired sites across the United States to track the development of their students. The ensemble and collaborative nature of instrumental music has led advocates, policy makers, and an increasing number of researchers to claim substantial impacts, particularly in the realm of young people’s socioemotional development.