It makes no more sense to teach music because it enhances reading than it does to teach math to help a person learn social studies. If you want a person to learn and understand social studies, you teach them social studies. You teach music, drama, art, and dance because it helps people learn music, drama, art and dance. The fact that there are collateral benefits from learning the arts is a bonus, and people need to be aware of that. But the BONUS is not the PURPOSE of teaching the arts. The arts need to be taught because they reflect an essential part of human nature, and are of great value in and of themselves. In addition, they connect each person to a deeper part of themselves that is shared by all humanity.
So - do music and the arts make you smarter? Based on the above discussion, there are obviously multiple separate and unique answers to that question that are correct. Do the arts improve musical intelligence, or inter-personnel - or intra-personal skills, or self-regulation, or executive skills I suppose that one of the answers to the question could depend on which type of intelligence you are addressing. What I do know is that music, and art, and drama, and dance, when combined with a content-rich, whole-child approach to education, and taught by highly qualified instructors does make indeed make students smarter. I also know that integrating the arts with the regular school curriculum is a sure, efficient and cost-effective way to turn around our rapidly declining educational system. How do I know? Here is a link to a video that I included when I started blogging that you might want to watch now. Its about school MS-223 in New York last year I believe. MS-223 was rated one of the most violent and lowest testing intermediate schools in the city when it was taken over by a new administration, with new priorities and a new vision for education. MS-223, went from a 10% literacy rate to a 60% rate, and from one of the most violent schools in the city, to one of the least. A self-proclaimed reason for the success of the school was the full integration of the arts with the rest of the curriculum. The success of the program is the result of a top-down valuing of the arts at every level, and with every other subject taught in the school. The story is staggering because it is so successful, so obvious, and so ignored by leaders and policy makers that are making decisions that fund and drive our our educational systems - and are eliminating our arts programs today.
Enough for now