There is the answer that school boards and narrow minded parents want to hear: it helps brain functions and is correlated with higher test scores.
Then there is the true answer: School sucks and music makes it suck less. Music education gives students the opportunity to make friends and have fun and learn an art. Art helps us put meaning to our lives. I have never been able to capture the sunrise in a math problem, but it can be captured in song. No science lesson describes the pain of a breakup, but a melody can. English comes the closest but when I took english it wasn’t about having or expressing emotions, it was about ripping apart each word to figure out some secret code that may not even be there. Yes, music requires you to be analytical, technical, and painfully detailed, but if you don’t put heart into it, it can not be called good music. Music is a vent and a source. It teaches us to cope and to express and it shows us the emotions we hid from ourselves. Music and the other arts are the only things in school that allow us to even have emotions.
For me, personally, it was the only thing I really had to work for and it was the only thing that I felt like I should be proud of. I got incredible grades and was one of the best at a very intelligent high school, and teachers were telling me I should be a writer, a doctor, a mathematician. I chose to be a music teacher because it was the only thing that kept me from going insane.
Music education is important because we drive kids to the edge of insanity and beyond for the sake of “education” and “their future” and often music is the only thing keeping them from absolutely losing their minds. Music education keeps us sane.