highlights from key national research on arts education


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At-risk first grade students who were taught basic letter and sound connections through improvisational movement improved more in those basic reading skills than did the control group of similarly at-risk students. "The development of linguistic abilities mirrors the development of dance phrase making…dance can help children discover the 'music' of language."

source: Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development, 2002, p. 10
study: The Impact of Whirlwind's Basic Reading Through dance Program on First Grade Students' Basic Reading Skills: Study II

Teenagers serving time in detention facilities benefited from twice-weekly dance classes in ways that led the study's author to conclude, "Patience, and sometimes even compassion, can be social by-products of aesthetic engagement."

source: Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development, 2002, p. 13
study: Art and Community: Creating Knowledge Through Service in Dance

The opportunity to be instructed in music or dance disciplines offered a variety of compelling social benefits for students in addition to the knowledge and skill of an art. For some of the underprivileged students offered this opportunity to be treated as gifted and talented, the participation in the art form was an emotional safe haven from family turmoil. The art forms were an assimilation tool for recent immigrants and other new kids. Achievement in the art and friendships built in that process bolstered students as they entered new situations of various kinds. Performances brought the broader community together in pride. Horizons were broadened through access to classes at studios and trips to theaters outside of students' immediate neighborhoods and offered a glimpse of the broader cultural world. "Ultimately the skills and discipline students gained, the bonds they formed with peers and adults, and the rewards they received through instruction and performing fueled their talent development journey and helped most achieve success both in and outside of school."

source: Champions of Change, 1999, p.77–78
National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented
University of Connecticut, Storrs
study: Artistic Talent Development for Urban Youth: The Promise and the Challenge