I believe that all students have musical ability. My expectation is that my students will develop some level of musical competence as they participate in general music and even more, if they participate in a musical ensemble like band, choir, or orchestra. I provide many learning opportunities that are responsive to students as individuals in order to help them all achieve some level of musical success. Helping students to succeed musically depends on building a positive classroom environment. I strive to establish an environment in which students feel safe, supported, and empowered. I also have the larger goal of enabling all my students to continue on to a lifetime of musical engagement by helping them become musically independent and providing them with positive and fulfilling musical experiences.
Here are just a few of the reasons music is beneficial to all students' learning and development:
1. Early musical training helps develop brain areas involved in language and reasoning.
2. There is also a causal link between musical and spacial intelligence (the ability to perceive the world accurately and to form mental pictures of things). This kind of intelligence, by which one can visualize various elements that should go together, is critical to the sort of thinking necessary for everything from solving advanced mathematics problems to being able to pack a book-bag with everything that will be needed for the day.
3. Students of the arts learn to think creatively and to solve problems by imagining various solutions, rejecting outdated rules and assumptions. Questions about the arts do not have only one right answer.
4. Recent studies show that students who study the arts are more successful on standardized tests such as the SAT. They also achieve higher grades in high school.
5. A study of the arts provides children with an internal glimpse of other cultures and teaches them to be empathetic towards the people of these cultures.
6. Students of music learn craftsmanship as they study how details are put together painstakingly and what constitutes good, as opposed to mediocre, work. These standards, when applied to a student’s own work, demand a new level of excellence and require students to stretch their inner resources.
7. It is only by much hard work that a successful performance is possible. Through music study, students learn the value of sustained effort to achieve excellence and the concrete rewards of hard work.
8. Music study enhances teamwork skills and discipline. In order for an orchestra to sound good, all players must work together harmoniously towards a single goal, the performance, and must commit to learning music, attending rehearsals, and practicing.
9. Music provides children with a means of self-expression. Now that there is relative security in the basics of existence, the challenge is to make life meaningful and to reach for a higher stage of development.
10. Music study develops skills that are necessary in the workplace. It focuses on “doing,” as opposed to observing, and teaches students how to perform, literally, anywhere in the world. Employers are looking for multi-dimensional workers with the sort of flexible and supple intellects that music education helps to create as described above. In the music classroom, students can also learn to better communicate and cooperate with one another.
11. Music performance teaches young people to conquer fear and to take risks.
12. An arts education exposes children to the incomparable.