The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


May 12, 2006

Teachers: Music may boost intelligence

Music education can be the key to higher education.

At a time when some school districts are trimming music education from their budgets, educators are finding that students who study music achieve higher SAT scores.

“It’s the only activity that uses both the right and left brain,” said Michael Bodolosky, fine arts chairman and director of instrument studies for Richland School District. “Music education makes a well-rounded child.”

Bodolosky added that medical schools often look for liberal arts students because they’ve developed a dexterity in their fingers that can help them become surgeons.

Bodolosky, who has taught band instruments to students in grades five through 12 since 1976, said musical activity boosts self-esteem.

“It’s not instant gratification,” he said.

“We’re not keeping score. There’s no win or lose. They progress over the years.”

Music also develops discipline in math, science and foreign languages.

“Music is a communications tool,” he said.

“It’s a universal language.”

Bodolosky said that ancient cultures might disappear, but their music lives on.

“What would a ceremony like the Olympics be without the music?” he asked.

“Music is physical and psychological. It gets you to move and sets the mood. Look at commercials on TV and radio. You hear, ‘I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener’ and you want a hot dog.”

At Richland, Bodolosky believes there is a strong band, orchestra and choral program, but it won’t stay that way without help.

“It’s up to the parents to keep it at the forefront,” he said.

“We can’t let it slip away.

Bodolosky said music is not only important to the performers but to the consumers as well.

“Music is important in public education,” he said. “It’s not fluff.”

Bodolosky also is director of bands at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

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