Music is what makes us whole.
Members of the Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) say that the answer is yes to all the above!
MMEA and Classical Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) believe music learning has many benefits beyond the classroom.
They are also co-leading Music Makes Us Whole. This initiative includes performing arts organizations and after-school youth music groups, community musicians, music retailers, and music educators.
Because of its whole-brain and whole-life benefits, everyone involved believes that every child should have rich music education.
Minnesota schools have been adding more teachers since 2006. However, according to the Minnesota Department of Education, music has seen a decline. This means that music classes are more frequent but less often.
Brian Newhouse, MPR’s managing director of classical programming and a Music Makes Us Whole initiative member, stated that quality music should be taught in schools.
Music educators in Alexandria echo this sentiment.
Todd Baser, a band teacher at Alexandria Area High School (AAHS), stated that music teaches discipline, team-building skills and cooperation. “Many students in Alexandria have enjoyed a high-quality music experience. They can carry it with them for the rest of their lives,” Baser said.
School District 206 has a rich history of strong musical offerings. There are currently more than 1000 students in grades 6-12 who take part in music classes at the middle or high school levels.
Brad Lambrecht, orchestra director, stated that music is an integral part of many students’ lives. It allows them to concentrate their minds, bodies and souls in a new and meaningful way.
Music is a way to teach life lessons.
Andrew Storm is a senior at AAHS and has played the tenor saxophone ever since sixth grade. He has also been a member of the choir for five years.
His mother was a band director, and he grew up hearing her play the tenor. He recalled that he had always listened and admired his mother’s playing, as well as watching his older brother perform at his concerts. “I wanted to play too,” said he.
The storm was awarded Superior ratings in band solo competitions for the past three years and received a perfect score at this contest.
His passion is not only music. He has been active in cross-country, school tennis, SLAM, and the National Honor Society. He doesn’t consider his music a work of art, but rather, he views it as relaxing.
He said, “It teaches many life lessons.” It teaches you how to practice and prepare, allowing you to express your emotions and provide stress relief.
Storm stated that his involvement with music had enabled him to make new friends and build relationships.
He auditioned recently for a Concordia College music scholarship in Moorhead. While he is still waiting to hear the results of his audition, he is optimistic that he will study music there next year.
Music can make your day more enjoyable.
Senior Haley Wagner participates in many musical groups at AAHS, including Concert Choir and Select Women’s Choir. She was also a member of the Philharmonia Orchestra during her first semester.
Music has been an integral part of my life.” she sings, plays the cello, violin and cello, and plays the piano. She said, “I have been singing since I was very little.”
She replied that she loved everything about music when she was asked. It’s amazing! It’s therapeutic. It can make a difference in my day.
Wagner stated that music has increased her confidence and helped her communicate. She said, “Music can be a common language.”
She’s considering performing arts studies next year and has considered options from New York to Los Angeles. There are many options. It will be music-related. “I don’t believe my heart would be satisfied with anything else.”
Music is available for everyone.
Alex Plasky, a senior at AAHS, has been a school choir member since ninth grade. He recalled, “I used to walk by the choir room to listen to people sing,” “I was not a great singer, but I decided to try it.”
Plasky quickly realized that he wasn’t just a singer but was also a very skilled one. Plasky is currently a member of the Concert Choir and was recently elected to the All-Conference Choir.
He said that singing was something he enjoyed. It’s a wonderful thing to do. Every day I learn new things.
He has been a solo and group competitor, earning excellent and superior ratings. He is also a student adjudicator and works with students to improve their musical skills.
Plasky, now in a wheelchair, said that he tried to play the piano and sax before his accident. “Now, I have a lower diaphragm — it’s only half gone. That makes it a bit more difficult to sing.
“Some people claim they can’t sing but I believe that anyone can learn to sing.”
Plasky responded to a question about Deitz’s leadership: “I love him.” He is simply amazing. He has motivated me to put in extra effort and to work harder to improve my skills.”
Plasky stated that he would continue to sing after high school.
WHAT DID YOU KNOW?
* Music training stimulates all regions of the brain.
* Students who have one year or more of music experience in high school earn higher ACT scores – 4 % in math and 7 % in English.
* Students with low income who took music lessons from grades 8-12 saw their math, reading, history and geography skills increase by 40% compared to students without music.
* The National Endowment of the Arts reports that at-risk teens who have access to school art programs are more likely to pursue a career in the arts and be more involved in civic life.
Employers are looking for musicians with communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills.
* Music was a popular youth activity for 83 percent of adults earning more than $150,000.