Music plays a big role in my family, from singing in chorus to playing the piano and guitar and making playlists of hit songs.


We almost always sing and listen to gospel, Broadway songs, classical, pop, country and jazz.


It is so soothing. To relax my nerves in U.S. Highway 98 traffic, I play something on Sirius XM or my iPhone.


I used to record my favorite songs on cassette tapes and CDs.


The benefits of music include more than enjoying the melodies.


My daughter, Claire, played piano and sang in the Pensacola Children’s Chorus. My other daughter, Sarah, jammed on her guitar and also sang in chorus.


It was one of the best things they did development wise.


They spoke with confidence to grownups and overflowed with self-esteem. Nothing made them feel anxious or worried.


Studies of music also show performing musical notes help improve math skills. Notes are essentially fractions that helped Claire and Sarah study the highest calculus offered in their high school.


Sarah studies chemical engineering and continues to excel in math and science.


As a student in high school and college, I looked forward to studying math. I also tutored other students in algebra, geometry and calculus.


We may not know it, but music helps enhance our brains. Playing an instrument, like a piano or guitar, causes people to have more neural activity.


That’s just a few of the benefits music plays in our development.


Yet, many schools skimp on instruments and chorus.


More than 8,000 public schools in the U.S. currently lack music programs, studies show. That means across the country 1.3 million elementary school students never take a music class.


It’s a crying shame.


Children in America continue to fall further and further behind in math and science scores, according to the Business Insider report in 2018.


They ranked 38th in math and 24th in science. They have fallen in international rankings over the past three decades as the U.S. has decreased education spending 3%, while other countries increase their funding.


So let’s restore our music programs and witness a resurgence in the intelligence of our children.


Duwayne Escobedo covers Santa Rosa County for the Daily News. You can contact him at 850-315-4489 in Fort Walton Beach, on his cell phone at 850-255-1484 or email him at descobedo@nwfdailynews.com