Should music be a required subject in schools?

Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch (a.k.a. Florence Henderson) and NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar teamed up yesterday to petition the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan . Their goal is to make music education- or at least the arts – a core subject in a student’s education.

Currently, Minnesota standards require just one credit of arts education for a student to graduate from high school. That’s compared to four credits of language arts, three and a half credits in social studies, and three credits each in math and science. That art class could come in the form of music, dance, theater, or media arts. In addition students are required to take at least seven electives.

What do you think? What would be the benefit of taking music, or any art class, every year of your education? Would it come at the cost of electives? Or some other core class? Students who have a natural affinity for the arts have the choice of taking those classes as electives, so why force students who aren’t naturally interested? What’s the benefit?