STEM to STEAM – How arts education changes everything

Jul 11, 2019

Travel Notes

The acronym STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) made a big splash in the early 2000’s and remains a huge focus in the education world. This trend had positive effects to be sure, but had unfortunate ramifications on an already struggling arts education landscape.

Enter STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics). Pioneered by researchers at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), STEAM was launched as an initiative to encourage the connection between science and art education in an effort to inspire the kind of innovation necessary to tackle 21st century challenges. The RISD saw the same qualities in both artists and scientists – inquisitiveness, open mindedness, etc. – and saw endless possibilities for collaboration between the two fields. 

Both government and education leaders saw the value in this kind of synergy. Today, STEAM programs are in high demand, as parents and educators want to see well-rounded experiences for students. And research continues to show the profound connections between the arts and other disciplines.

A key study funded by the National Endowment for the Arts found that a well-rounded education that included the arts resulted in more students pursuing the college admissions process. Even more interesting, those same students who studied the arts in high school pursued STEM majors at the same rate as their non-arts focused peers. These researchers reported “arts courses appearing on a high school transcript do not reflect poorly on students in the college admissions process.”

A more recent study from the University of British Columbia showed the correlation between music education and performance in English, science and math. The study reported, “participation in school music (especially instrumental music) was related to higher exam scores, and students with higher levels of school music engagement had higher exam scores.”

It’s incredibly exciting to us when research supports what our team of veteran music educators has believed all along – that arts education is invaluable to students, whether they pursue music for life or simply enjoy it during their time in school. We’re honored to support the arts through our efforts in the community and through the work we do, enhancing music education through performance travel. If we can add to your music program through travel, we’d love to chat with you!

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