Once again, a local person has made us proud.

Aaron Bowling, choir director at Boyd County High School, was recently awarded the National Federal High School Outstanding Music Educator Award.

Bowling, who has a bachelor’s degree in music education from Morehead State University and a master’s degree in choral conducting, teaches guitar and music theory as well as choir.

In a time when science, technology, engineering and math are encouraged and rewarded, the arts often continue to be overlooked. Yet time after time, studies show the importance of the arts.

For example, a story published by the New England Board of Higher Education found children learn to process new sounds via music. Language skills and an understanding of music work together as children learn pitch, tone and enunciation of words. Learning a song helps develop the ability to memorize information. Playing an instrument develops hand-eye coordination. The study of music helps develop good study habits and teamwork. Those with musical training have been found to have higher levels of gray matter volume in their brains, which are directly tied to auditory processing and comprehension.

One of the more surprising advantages of music education: Musicians learn to listen to others, sense emotion and react with greater depth and understanding. These are life skills needed in professional and private lives.

Let’s not forget joy. Making music, listening to music, appreciating music brings joy to life, and there is never enough joy.

Given we live in an area in which music is so crucial to our culture, music education is especially important. Music educators play a vital role in students’ lives by introducing a skill that will complement other lessons and will stand alone as an important part of our everyday lives.

We congratulate Aaron Bowling on being recognized for his outstanding and important work.

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