web analytics

I’m excited about HB 10-1273: Arts Education for Workforce Development, a new bill that was introduced this week in the Colorado State Legislature.  It’s sponsored by State Representative Michael Merrifield (D-El Paso) in the House and by Senators Nancy Spence (R-Arapahoe) and Pat Steadman (D-Adams/Denver).  Click here to download the bill.  The video above is from this week’s press conference, showing Rep. Merrifield discussing the bill in the kick-off ceremony.

In short, the bill would direct the Colorado State Board of Education to set a visual or performing arts requirement for high school for each student in the state, beginning with next year’s 9th graders.  The bill points to the arts as an important tool in keeping students engaged and in avoiding drop-outs.  All this is great, but I like this bill for reasons beyond all these.

In 2004, the American Psychological Society released a paper by E. Glenn Schellenberg, a researcher who studied the effects of music education on a control group of 132 six-year old children that were given either keyboard, voice or drama lessons…or nothing at all.  All kids improved in their IQ measurements, partly due to the natural consequence of being in school.  However, after a year of lessons, the children in the music lessons groups showed an average increase in IQ of 7.0 points.

An IQ boost of an average of 7 points?  I’ll take it!

  • Click here for the research paper.
  • Click here for a podcast and transcript overview of the research.

I was a classically-trained vocalist in my previous life and have some good performances under my belt.  Here is a sound clip of me from 2000 singing one of my absolute favorite Brahms songs, Die Mainacht.  Text in English follows.

Click here for the recording.  Enjoy.

When the silvery moon beams through the shrubs
And over the lawn scatters its slumbering light,
And the nightingale sings,
I walk sadly through the woods.

I guess you're happy, fluting nightingale,
For your wife lives in one nest with you,
Giving her singing spouse
A thousand faithful kisses.

Shrouded by foliage, a pair of doves
Coo their delight to me;
But I turn away seeking darker shadows,
And a lonely tear flows.

When, o smiling image that like dawn
Shines through my soul, shall I find you on earth?
And the lonely tear flows trembling,
Burning, down my cheek.

--Ludwig Heinrich Christoph Hölty (1748-1776)