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Arts Policy Research Findings

Key Message

"There is biology of music…. Many of the same neurons that are used in music are also used in math, language, and thinking. Scientists believe that learning how to play an instrument like the piano or drums will not only make you a musician, it may make you a better student.”

'Research has shown that an increase in community arts and culture programming leads to increased rates of civic participation in general”

Source

Vancouver Park Board (2003). Arts Policy Research Findings. Vancouver, British Columbia: Author.

Purpose

In 2003, the Vancouver Park Board commissioned an “Arts Policy Research Study ” to produce findings on the benefits of Arts to coincide with their Policy document.

Evidence

LEARNING: Numerous studies describe the benefits of the arts in learning. Dr. Mark Jude Tramo, a neurobiologist at Harvard University Medical School studies music and learning.

“Undeniably, there is biology of music…. Many of the same neurons that are used in music are also used in math, language, and thinking. Scientists believe that learning how to play an instrument like the piano or drums will not only make you a musician, it may make you a better student.” In South Africa, “Edudance” is a successful program that uses dance to teach academic principles to children in the townships. A National Assessment conducted in 1999-2002 by Queen’s University Faculty of Education researchers, Dr. R. Upitis and Dr. K. Smithrim, found that students enrolled in Ontario’s Learning Through the Arts (LTA) program scored 11 percentile points higher in mathematics than their peers in regular school programs.

CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY
Researcher, Robert Putnam, did a study of Italian regions called Making Democracy Work. He discovered a positive correlation “between the vigour of voluntary organisations, particularly choral societies and choirs, and the level of civic engagement. In other words, the more people sang in groups, the higher the level of involvement in the tasks that a healthy community needs to do to care for itself.”

SOCIAL INCLUSION
A draft report by researcher, Steven Dang, commissioned as a starting point for a cultural plan for the Downtown Eastside in 2003 by Vancouver’s Office of Cultural Affairs, states that “community development workers and their organizations report again and again the unique power of arts and culture in outreach to otherwise alienated communities.…

Research has shown that an increase in community arts and culture programming leads to increased rates of civic participation in general”

SENIORS
The City of Christchurch acknowledges that “the arts play a role in enabling older people to uphold their rights to independence, participation, access to opportunities and resources and contribution to the economy. Scientific findings show that music-making helps make active older Americans healthier. Significant increases in Human Growth Hormone, (implicated in such aging phenomena as osteoporosis, energy levels, wrinkling, sexual function, muscle mass, and aches and pains) decreases in anxiety, depression and loneliness resulted following keyboard lessons.”

SOCIAL CAPITAL
Parallel to concepts of financial, physical and human capital, social capital describes the capacity for mutual co-operation towards the collective well-being within a community or wider society. In 1994, the Community Cultural Development Unit of the Australia Council for the Arts supported a national study to examine the long term value of community based arts projects. By Deidre Williams, the study, Creating Social Capital indicated that community based, collaborative arts programs and projects are highly effective in producing the following social capital outcomes:
• Improved communication of ideas and information
• Improved skills in planning and organising activities
• Improved understanding of different cultures or lifestyles
• Improved consultation between government and community
• Increased appreciation of community arts

Additional Information

EXSUM |

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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