Joe Montana and our cognitive dissonance

"My hands... in the middle of the night they hurt like crazy!

My knee? I can't really run or do much with it. They keep saying I'll have to replace it.

My eye acts like lazy eye. Every time you're tired, it kind of goes wherever it feels like. Not dramatic but just enough where you can't read or you have to refocus.

My family likes to be active, and I regret that there are things I can't do with them anymore."

- Joe Montana
Those are just a few outtakes of the former NFL quarterback talking about his body a few years removed from his remarkable NFL career, and yet he still encourages his son to play. And he's not alone!
According to a recently study, most Americans know there's a risk of concussion from playing football -- and yet most Americans also say they'd still let their kids play the sport.

I recently read about a poll where people were asked about their attitudes toward the Super Bowl and football. It stated that eighty seven percent of respondents had heard about the concussion problem facing the NFL. Sixty seven percent of those people were still comfortable allowing their own kids to play.
All of this is to say that there is a cognitive dissonance, or disconnect, when it comes to what we know and what we BELIEVE. Joe Montana is a man who knows and feels the effects of a career in football, but believes the activity is good for his son.

I wonder if the same thing is happening in reverse for music education? We have a huge body of evidence which shows that students who participate in music making become better students and human beings. We have study after study, and facts ad nauseam, and yet we still struggle to get people and politicians to BELIEVE in it's importance. As a society we KNOW the benefits of music but I wonder if we actually BELIEVE in them.

Perhaps in the fight for advocacy, we should focus less on what we know (facts and figures) and more on what people believe. They are both important, but people tend to make decisions on the latter.