Are musicians generally the brighter pupils at school??

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by geordiecolin, Apr 7, 2003.

  1. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    When I was at school and was invovled with the County Orchestras etc, i used to miss one day a month of school for rehearsal and one week a year for a residential trip. My school didn't really care because even with these absences I was still one of the best attendees and they were proud to have someone who was actually vaguely good at something.

    However, over schools in the county used to moan to the County Music Service about the days off. The Music Services text book response was that they felt that the kids who were good enough to play at County level were more often than not the higher achievers at school and so could probably afford to miss one day a month.

    Do you agree with this statement? Is it a good argument? Are the brighter kids more often than not the most talented musically??

    :idea: :idea: :idea: :?: :?: :?:

    You Decide (In pseudo big brother strange mackemish geordie accent)
  2. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    Just curious....

    Were the same objections applied to those students who had taime off due to being on school sports teams?

    Certainly in my old school, the same gang were missing from classes, week after week due to training sessions/matches etc etc.

    Not a peep was made, and some of the students in question could ill afford to miss even a minute of class.
  3. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    A good point well made.

    At my school anyway sport was recognised a lot more than music. I never recieved an award or owt for playing 1st Trumpet at County Level for umpteen years whereas anyone who was just a mere County Sport Squad member was worshipped!

    Other schools weren't so bad. One school, King Ed's @ Morpeth (if anyone's interested) had loads of different ties depending on how you represent the school so my mate had a really cool tie cos he played in several county bands and was also a good footballer.

    When i left for uni, me and a few others were presented with an envelope at our last concert "For Outstanding Service to Northumberland Music" which supposedly contained a £10 book token. the envelope was empty and i still haven't recieved my book token! I blame government funding!!
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Way back in the dark ages when I was at school my father was taking the school orchestra. After some considerable battle, the fight was won (after I had left, unfortunately) to award orchestra colours in the same way that sports achievement was recognised.

    Regarding the wider issue, I can see that there can be some correlation between intellectual ability and musicianship, but I don't think it necessarily follows. There are those who are naturally gifted in a particular area, and then there are others who are so motivated that they are able to boost their achievements through practice and hard work. It may be that the musicians given time off were simply more likely to have caught up on any work missed as they could otherwise have lost the privilege granted to them.
  5. picju96

    picju96 Member

    Music is getting its repect it deserves in our school just recently. The big band is going on tour in the summer and chamber orchestra regularly do concerts etc, but, they still kick up a stink if you have to miss lessons for any reason, e.g. last week we had to miss friday afternoon (all of 1 and a quarter hours) to do a rehearsal for a concert on the saturday and they wern't happy at all. This was the first year that there was a music captain appointed for the school, there's been a sports captain for about a hundred years. Music colours were awarded for the first time 5 years ago.
  6. I think you will find that this is just a reflection of the amount of parental guideance a kid receives. Those that nudge their kids towards extra curricular musical activities are the same ones who take an interest in how their kids are generally coping at school, helping with homework, making sure they are not roaming the streets etc.

    I dont think academic acheivement necesarilly translates into being gifted at other things. In the words of that great philosopher Paul Calf. "They laugh at David Beckham cos he's thick - but nobody laughs at Stephen Hawking cos he's cr@p at football."
  7. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Yeah I do think there is some truth in the statement. Maybe the hidden variable is to do with support from parents though...the kids that get supported/encouraged to get involved with music are often the same ones that supported with school-work! It could also have alot to do with determination. To learn a musical instrument takes alot of determination of practice. The ones that stick with it and put the work in are those that work hard at school. But music does teach kids alot of skills which help them in their school-work (eg) listening skills (most kids lack that!!) so IMHO they help each other along at the same time.
  8. aimee_euph

    aimee_euph Member

    i disagree totally!!
    being a player and a school pupil myself doing my GCSEs i'm finding it hard to find enough hours in the day to fit all my coursework and homework in never mind sparing 2 hours for band practise, and not even home practise.

    But, in the younger years, my school was amazed at the standard of St Helens Youth an me being a member they allowed me to have any days off i asked for! Going down to Blue Peter for a day was classed as 'Educated Offsite'. I think it all depends on how supportive the school is with this type of problem. My music teacher doesn't really understand much about Brass bands so she just knows what she knows from me & neil and because me and my brother were/are the only (recent) grade 6+ standard instrumentalists coming up through the school they allow whatever whenever!

    but i agree wit the above post sayin it develops listening skills and discipline. Especially in music GCSE because im way ahead of my class in appraising music and ive been playing for 9 years.
  9. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    If you ask me, and nobody really does, there is a correlation between music and many things, like a lot of musicians are very talented at maths and science.

    Studying an instrument at school though is similar to playing a sport, practice and dedication is needed, the only difference being that you can go and have a 'kick around' with your mates if football is your thing, and you don't really need to concentrate on learning football, up to a certain level at least, and the best usually have least reason to stay at home (parental support).

    Learning to play an instrument however means that you have to learn a different language, and master several things at the same time, you don't learn to walk, run, and play football at the same time!

    There are no instincts built in to learn music (like learning to walk and run), maybe to be musical, but not to learn it. And the fact that musicians who 'stick to it' are academic isn't surprising to me, as they had to be in the first place to learn music. Although there are always exceptions!
  10. Big Twigge

    Big Twigge Active Member

    Not sure about whether or not there is a correlation between being good at music and being good at academic work, but apparently a very large number of medics are 'musically talented'...might tie in with Neil's point about maths and science etc. (Just thought I'd share that fact with you all!)
  11. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I realise this is going slightly off-topic, but there is a lovely story of Einstein playing music with some friends.

    When things went adrift, one of the others is reputed to have said to him: "Can't you count??!!!"
  12. Colin K

    Colin K Member

    I am not sure if a serious answer is required. However it is well documented that people who are good at maths tend to also be good at music. Psychologist Fran Rauscher and physicist Gordon Shaw at the University of California-Irvine performed research into this link in 1994. The research was done by splitting a group of three-year-old children into three smaller groups. The first group had daily singing time with adults. The second group were given weekly keyboard lessons and the third group no musical training of any kind. After eight months, every child who participated in a music training programme increased in his or her spatial intelligence by an average of 46 percent over the control group's six percent increase. The children that showed the most dramatic improvement were the disadvantaged. Spatial skill is the ability to form mental images, visualise graphic representations, and recognise relationships of various objects to one another. Spatial skills are essential building blocks for later success in calculus and physics. It was also noted that the Children who had keyboard lessons showed most improvement on average because they had the opportunity to physically move over the keyboard, which has physical representations of ascending and descending pitches thus making their music experience more complete. Thus, the earlier music is introduced, the more potential the child has for learning. Experts universally agree that birth to age three is the crucial time for maximum neural development. As research affirms the positive cerebral benefits of music, early childhood experts are asserting the value of music as a source of pleasure that translates into creative expression.
  13. asteria

    asteria Member

    Bright pupils

    There's definitely a lot of truth that the musical kids are often the brightest. Parental encouragement has a lot to do with it, and i know that at my school the few who did music did best overall in GCSEs.

    Music wasn't really engouraged at my upper school, not that they disliked it just that most of the kids were so awful that the teachers were more concerned with getting them to sit still for 10 minutes! That meant that any kid with musical talent had it because they had motivation to practice, which is the same characteristic needed for doing well in school.

    It is hard work fitting everything in sometimes, banding can be a huge commitment, but in my experience most of my non-musical mates at school never did their homework anyway! When i was at band or practicing my other friends just lounged about watching tv so they didn't really have a head start. I think in the end i was so busy trying to 'catch up' i did more work than them and ended up with much better results! :D

  14. Curious

    Curious Member


    I have as yet not had the pleasure of meeting a band,orchestra,etc etc of geniuses(other than musical ones).
  15. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I think that if you were to join the Blewbury Band without at least an MSc you would actually decrease the average amount of education in the band. Every other player is a doctor of something or other!

  16. cornetgirl

    cornetgirl Active Member

    I think musical pupils have to have quite a good brain as in many ways music is another language, and there are certainly a lot of musical medics and dentists out there - when I was at Uni the lead players in almost every section of the orchestra were from the medical faculty.

    At my school it was a similar picture to others - sport sport sport. There were a few of us who were in NYBB and NYO, I did BBC Young Musician twice and we were the best represented school in the local Youth Orchestra and youth bands etc, as well as getting good results and wiping the floor at local music festivals. Strange how I got much more respect because I played hockey for the school... I got my school colours for it but the ironic thing was that at that Presentation Evening I'd also got a standing ovation playing a violin solo - that never got a mention...

    Maybe you don't necessarily need as much academic ability to play sport so consequently it's easier to encourage more people to do well in it at school - hence how brighter people can juggle music and academia and sometimes sport too!!!!

    Rach x
  17. Wonky_Baton

    Wonky_Baton Active Member

    When I was a lad some of the most gifted players were thick as two short planks and a brass band was a working class hobby, with most middle class kids in orchestras. There seems to be a move over the years for the working class kids to lose interest and more and more middle class kids who have a tradition of going to university etc also to play instruments. This may account for the anomoly of having bright kids in bands. As the pool of plyers is smaller then you find that standards are dropping and players that were good players in the 3rd section a few years ago are now holding down places in championship bands.
  18. twigglet

    twigglet Member

    I think that music and academics are very much linked. Although being musical is obviously an art and therefore uses the left (?) brain, it is also very mathematical in divisions of bars and beats etc. So it would make sense that a good musician is also good at school as they have the capabitlity to use both sides of the brain efficiently.

    if that makes any sense at all
    it does to me!

  19. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    How does that work if men can only use one side at a time though??? :shock:
  20. twigglet

    twigglet Member

    men can never do more than one thing at once, they're rubbish like that!!

    But they dont have to use the different sides of the brain at the same time, they just have to use them both at different times in music!

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