Music and Staying in School

High absenteeism and low levels of engagement are often a significant issue in many schools lacking arts and music education. (1-3)

When integrated in the curriculum, musical study has the potential to reduce dropout rates by increasing student motivation and engagement through the infusion of creativity in the learning environment. (4-7)

Schools that foster music education boast significantly higher attendance and graduation rates, and taking a music elective course has been known to be a better indicator of college completion than a high grade point average. (4,8)

Most strikingly, arts-engaged students from challenged socio-economic backgrounds are more likely than their non-arts-engaged peers to have attended and done well in college. (9)


  1. Balfanz, R., Bridgeland, J.M., Moore, L.A., & Fox, J.H. (2010). Building a grad nation: Progress and challenge in ending the high school dropout epidemic. Washington, DC: America’s Promise Alliance
  2. Bridgeland, J.M., Dilulio, JJ. & Morison, K.B. (2006). The silent epidemic: Perspectives of high-school dropouts. Washington, DC: Civic Enterprises.
  3. Pytel, B. (2008). Predicting dropouts: Middle school data foretells who will drop out.
  4. Heath, S. B., Soep, E., & Roach, A. (1998). Living the arts through language learning: A report on community-based organizations. Washington, DC: Americans for the Arts 2(7)
  5. Eleanor Chute, “Music and Art Lessons Do More Than Complement Three R’s”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 13, 1998
  6. N.H. Barry, J.A. Taylor, and K. Walls, “The Role of the Fine and Performing Arts in High School Dropout Prevention”
  7. Barry, N., Taylor, J., & Walls, K. (1990). The Role of the Fine and Performing Arts in High School Dropout Prevention. Center for Music Research, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
  8. Dr. Denise C. Gardner, Effects of Music Courses on Retention, Georgia Tech, 2000.
  9. Catterall, James S. (2009). Doing Well and Doing Good by Doing Art: The Effects of Education in the Visual and Performing Arts on the Achievement and Values of Young Adults. Los Angeles/London: Imagination Group / I-Group Books.