by Jared Furtado

Music: A Pathway to Success

It is a rather magnificent aspect of my job that I am fortunate to witness boys of diverse backgrounds working together and overcoming obstacles as a team. These boys are rowers, debaters, rugby players, chess champions, school prefects, footy players, instrumentalists and, above all, academic students.

They don’t join me for training, class or coaching – they join me for Choir.

In my role as a music educator in an all boys’ school, I regularly come across the mindset that music adds to a boy’s academic load, rather than complements it. It is also a nation-wide concern that boys are leaving their musical pathways in favour of other futures without enough balance, nor opportunity to express themselves creatively.

I am a big fan of Dr Anita Collins and her research into the importance of boys continuing a music education throughout their junior and secondary studies. Earlier this year, Dr Collins’ work into the academic and personal benefits of a musical education culminated in a three part ABC series, Don’t Stop the Music. During the series, teachers monitored the literacy and numeracy results of a school that instigated a compulsory instrumental program. 

“…the growth of life, social and emotional skills for these students was overwhelming.”

While the correlation between music and maths has previously been reported, interestingly the results of a relationship between literacy and music also proved to be positive. However, perhaps surprisingly it wasn’t necessarily Dr Collins’ academic research that hit home the most for me. Throughout the series, the growth of life, social and emotional skills for these students was overwhelming. Examples included a positive increase in confidence, self-discipline, cooperation, perseverance, organisation and behaviour in class. Dr Collins’ research also suggests that a music pathway leads to greater attention to detail and abilities to plan and strategise. In a time when entrepreneurship is the next major pathway for our students, I couldn’t think of a better list of skills for our boys to have.

I once read that a third of children learn an instrument, and over two thirds of adults wish they had. Parents – I salute you for investing in your son’s musical education. When your son has an early morning rehearsal, a concert at night, you’re arguing with them when there’s a lull in practice or you’ve just received the account for music lessons, remember the big picture: music is going to contribute to your son’s short and long term academic and personal development.

Brought to you by Brighton Grammar School

Jared Furtado is Director of Music and Head of Choral at Brighton Grammar, an all-boys school in Melbourne. He is also an actor and singer, about to embark on a role in the Australian production of Chicago. This article is about