Flute Fest brings culture and education to Columbia

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COLUMBIA - Flute Fest showcased new music and high school performers, along with some fun and games, but the reward of music has a much deeper meaning than just pretty sounds. 

A report from the Journal of Neuroscience shows students in top-quality music programs scored 22 percent better in English and 20 percent better in mathematics than students in deficient music programs.

But that's not the only thing music helps with.

MU professor of music education Wendy Sims said while studies often like to link scores on tests like the SATs with people who play music, she thinks there is more tangible evidence of the benefits.

"Benefits that may relate to cognitive effect are good, but besides that, teaching music and playing it makes people more musical," Sims said. "It teaches self expression, helps with creative abilities, and gives kids different ways to think."

"Watch how they [kids] respond to music, they generally enjoy the experience," Sims said. "Quality of life is really important; you may leave school and forget some subjects, but you remember how to be happy and how to play music." 

That idea of quality of life hits home with high schooler Emily Franke.

"I was bullied in elementary school, it was kind of awful," Franke said. "A lot of it was that I just didn't find a place where I fit in. I really enjoyed being in music and art class, and if I had spent more time in them I would have been a lot happier." 

But now, she's found a niche within her musical life.

"When I play with my wind ensemble, it's more of a family," Franke said.