One of the most consistent impacts observed has been participants’ mental and emotional wellbeing. These positive impacts are achieved through the musician-participant relationship and a programme design which emphasises fun, enjoyment, esteem, pride, teamwork and a sense of belonging. ~ Big Noise: Glasgow Centre for Population Health - 2019
This page brings full circle my Fulbright research conducted in the UK. It addresses the concept of music and well-being. Whether a young child taking that first step into music-making, adults fulfilling a life-long dream to learn how to play an instrument, or parents emigrating to Scotland or a Fulbright scholar seeking connection and community, music provides a sense of well-being.
Music Education for a Lifetime
I came to the UK to explore how music education programs support student agency, identiy, creativity and well-being. In putting this website together, I find that many of the programs and pedagogies touch upon more than one, which led me to seeing these areas as part of a cycle rather than separate. As the quote from the 2019 independent study of the Big Noise program concluded: one of the most consistent impacts on participants were mental and social well-being including avoidance of at-risk behaviors (i.e. drug and alcohol abuse).
My charge for public schools is to reenvision and commit to making music a core part of their curriculum, not just view it as enrichment. Instead see it as a tool for laying a foundation of well-being in all children at an early age, especially for those experiencing trauma.
By laying this foundation and making it accessible to all students, music-making should continue throughout a childʼs K-12 public education to help develop student agency, which strengthens identity and encourages creativity - all of which contribute to an enhanced sense of well-being. This cycle continues throughout a lifetime. It will take all of us working together to help make that happen. Thank you to all of the people Iʼve met as part of my Fulbright in the UK who provided a roadmap.