Question: Does music education improve student achievement?

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The month of May is New Zealand Music Month, which warms our hearts and our classrooms at Te Kura Taumata o Panguru. Our whole community have always enjoyed music in some form from the guitar playing in the garage to attending dances at the Memorial hall to boogie away to Uncle Pepe’s band Harry and the maori Falcons, to singing himene at church, performing in school kapa haka to supporting our many kaumatua on the marae whether it is at a tangihanga or at some person’s birthday with a waiata.

For our culture singing is like having a passport, it has become an important strategy for Maori to revive our language our customs, and the mana of our people. Look at Te Matatini and how it has grown in size, in status amongst the circles of Maori performing arts and the contribution this event is making to the revival of our language , our customs and music styles.

At Te Kura Taumata O Panguru music is becoming more and more an important part of our curriculum , the musical skills it imparts , the cultural knowledge it conveys and the absolute joy it brings.

Is there a correlation between Music and improving student achievement ? Most music teachers observed that students who are involved in music has a positive impact on other areas of their lives , it improves their self discipline, coordination, self esteem,thinking, listening creative abilities and personal expression.
These observations are reassuring given the overabundance of negative images of how Maori are underachieving in education generally.

Music gives our students at Te Kura Taumata o Panguru access to a world so that they can create a life for themselves, for their future surely that is the best achievement of all that we can leave for our children.

Aristotle wrote “Music makes the hearts of men glad” on this alone our children should be learning Music. A maori tupuna and scholar Apirana Ngata wrote “ e tipu e rea mo nga ra o to ao , grow up and thrive for the days destined to you” on this alone I urge teachers, parents, Board members , policy makers to continue to make music education a part of our children’s lives at Te Kura Taumata o Panguru.

Writer: Principal Mina Pomare-Peita

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