A recent study by Northwestern University shows that music education has a profound impact on troubled youth. What’s more, hip-hop has become a great way to establish a dialogue between troubled kids and their therapists. Music as an an important outlet for kids who may be growing up in a troubled situation. Musical Artist, JRS3 agrees, citing his own personal struggles as a child and how music helped him overcome adversity.
“Music education allows kids to be artistic and express themselves,” he says. “If they’re old enough, they can really read into the lyrics and interpret them in their own way. It’s so important to see past the glitz, glamour, and material things in music and get to the core message of the song.”
It’s not hard to look back on one’s own youth, and remember specific songs that made an impact. Depending on what’s going on in one’s life, certain lyrics, or even melodies themselves can leave a lasting impression.
“Tupac’s Dear Mama was a song that really helped heal me,” says JRS3. “When I was 9 years old, my mother would leave the radio on when we left the house to make it seem like people were home. She wanted to protect us from getting burglarized.” While music can help kids cope with the stresses of daily life, it’s important that they have role models to look up to, and provide examples of the right things to do. The combination of these two things can make a huge difference in a kid’s life.
“In high school, I was in an a cappella group,” JRS3 says. “Mr. Hart was my music teacher from grades 9-12. He was one of the best. Having mentors really matters. I think at the high school level, there should be fully operating music studios at the schools. Kids should also be taught every aspect of the music business.”
Dr. Nina Kraus of Northwestern University conducted a study, selecting 80 kids from a Los Angeles neighborhood plagued with gangs, and assigning half of them to the “Harmony Project”. The others had to enroll a year later. The study found that language comprehension skills improved for the first group while not so much for the second. The second group’s skills followed suit once they eventually participated.