Why Settle for STEM? Let's Promote STEAM Disciplines

5 reasons why I support arts in education

Posted Jun 25, 2012

I have a place in my heart for the STEM disciplines. I am all about science, math, and technology and use those skills as a music therapist, a wife, and a mother. I am also sympathetic towards the focus on getting girls excited about those fields. Yet I'm concerned that STEM disciplines aren't enough. That they don't provide enough of a well-rounded education.

What about promoting a dose of STEAM in our education?

STEAM adds the arts into the mixture. Not just visual arts, but music, drama, architecture, dance, writing, liberal arts...in short, that which nurtures the development of our creativity

I'm certainly not the first to propose this idea. I couldn't tell you who is. But what I can share is that the arts--and I use this term in the broadest sense possible--are a vital piece of the educational puzzle. Consider:

  1. Music training seems to improve math, language, and overall learning and memory skills for our children (I'm sure other forms of the arts do, too...this is just my area of expertise).
  2. Promoting the arts in education allows children the opportunity to problem solve, be imaginative, and to think outside the box.
  3. Involvement in the arts can promote individuality and self-expression as well as structure and discipline.
  4. In this seminal 2006 TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson mentions that, given how quickly information is changing, we are training our children to learn things that may be obsolete in 30, 40, or 50 years. Nurturing creativity in our children is what will support our future innovators and problems solvers.
  5. The arts can work to nurture and develop the "whole" child...not just the cognitive, process-oriented thinker.

Don't get me wrong...the STEM disciplines are important. I use them all the time. But I would get more excited about a push that promotes a more holistic educational focus.

I think our children deserve that at least.

Follow me on Twitter @KimberlySMoore for daily updates on the latest research and articles related to music, music therapy, and music and the brain. I invite you also to check out my website, www.MusicTherapyMaven.com, for additional information, resources, and strategies.