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Home Blog Music and the art of its education

Music and the art of its education

By Andrea Chacos 11/06/2018
At some point, we all start to sound just like our parents when it comes to the importance of music education. “I wish I continued playing the piano when I was your age,” or “Just one more year of music lessons and you’ll thank me later,” are comments that we utter to our children when they’re still in our care. We say things like this because we know the benefits of music are bountiful and there is value in this type of education.

Some of us started infusing classical music into our kids when they were little, or better yet when they were still nestled in the womb because we read that listening to Mozart activates parts of the brain that increases cognitive functions. Then, when our kids were in preschool, we eagerly signed them up for classes called Music Together or Kindermusik because these programs have been designed to connect children to their loved ones in a happy, stimulating, musical environment. We began to understand the real effect that safety, security and pleasurable experiences have on the brain, including music.

According to the National Association of Music Merchants, (The Namm Foundation), music has a biological effect on the developing nervous systems in children. The more one practices and plays, the more the neurons in the brain fire away paving new neural pathways. The brain grows, creating the strengthened circuitry that can end up benefitting one’s speech, language, reading skills, and overall learning.

Improved memory, a higher IQ, better communication skills and increased attention span seem like a recipe for success. But still so many schools don’t make early music education mandatory, and worse, programs are being cut at alarming rates according to a 2017 study titled, The Status of Music Education in the United States Public Schools. Instead, we make room for more formal courses of study like reading and math, which are important, but at the expense of vital arts programming.

However, some schools and programs embody a rich arts programs and trust the research and data that support brain development through music. One such program comes out of the Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork (WSRF), led by master musician, Chris Harrison. He hones his skills playing bassoon with the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra, collaborates as a faculty member of Jazz Aspen Snowmass and is the owner of the Rock and Roll Academy for middle and high school students living in the Roaring Fork Valley.

According to Chris, building an individual’s social character is a crucial component in how we will be defining “success” in the years to come. He feels strongly that music study and participation provide unique opportunities to grow and develop the whole person. To this end, if you interview some of Chris’s students, you can hear comments that speak toward their budding self-esteem.

For example, “Playing the cello calms me down and lets me think. I think it’s the vibrations moving through me.” Or, “Mr. Harrison gave me an opportunity to introduce myself to a new instrument. I was passionate to learn the oboe because it seems hard to play and I was ready to try something new.” This is the type of growth mindset Mr. Harrison believes will support their overall success in the future.

When the time comes for a child to enter high school, the importance of music education may become even more crucial as teenagers have to learn to sort out their swirling, heightened, new emotions. Music can, therefore, be used as freedom of expression to release powerful feelings of anger, love, sadness, and joy.

George Weber, the director of the music program at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS), enjoys facilitating this time in a student's life. For the past twenty-three years, George has considered himself a guide whose role is to instill in his students a deep love for music and self-awareness in an idyllic setting. He’s eager and ready to support their musical journey.

The CRMS music program is unique because so much of it is student driven. Class size is very small, meaning no more than ten students work together with George at a time. There are classes for beginners through advanced, with everything in between. Besides students choosing their instrument and type of music they want to play, George takes it a step further. He figures out what music means to the students. He wants to know what type of life his students want to get out of playing music and how he can teach them to make the kinds of decisions that will get them there.

For some, “It’s never just about the music,” George states matter-of-factly. He then points out a CRMS graduate, Jackson Emmer, who was able to take his love of music to another level. “In addition to the incredible skill, talent, and passion, Jackson possessed a social networking component crucial in the age of self-recording and promotion.

For others though, music in high school will never go farther than playing the guitar in the band or singing a passionate rendition of Stairway to Heaven at the local karaoke bar. That’s okay too because we know music is also a powerful tool for communication, teamwork, relaxation, self- expression, and unity. Providing our children with this type of balance in an increasingly competitive global economy can be crucial in a time where society is heavy on the facts, stats and balance sheets.

When we begin to doubt the power of music education or its value on a people, we can summon some of the more enchanting works ever created. There’s real power in Louis Armstrong’s, What a Wonderful World because it can bring the strongest-willed person to tears. Cheering for a sports team never came so easily as when belting out Queen’s, We Will Rock You in a packed stadium. And Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana touches every single cell on the human body making you feel like tackling your next big project with enthusiasm, and maybe a torch, too. Even a modern, day love ballad by Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran can elicit strong emotions, just ask any angst-ridden teen.
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Home Blog Music and the art of its education

Music and the art of its education

By Andrea Chacos 11/06/2018
At some point, we all start to sound just like our parents when it comes to the importance of music education. “I wish I continued playing the piano when I was your age,” or “Just one more year of music lessons and you’ll thank me later,” are comments that we utter to our children when they’re still in our care. We say things like this because we know the benefits of music are bountiful and there is value in this type of education.

Some of us started infusing classical music into our kids when they were little, or better yet when they were still nestled in the womb because we read that listening to Mozart activates parts of the brain that increases cognitive functions. Then, when our kids were in preschool, we eagerly signed them up for classes called Music Together or Kindermusik because these programs have been designed to connect children to their loved ones in a happy, stimulating, musical environment. We began to understand the real effect that safety, security and pleasurable experiences have on the brain, including music.

According to the National Association of Music Merchants, (The Namm Foundation), music has a biological effect on the developing nervous systems in children. The more one practices and plays, the more the neurons in the brain fire away paving new neural pathways. The brain grows, creating the strengthened circuitry that can end up benefitting one’s speech, language, reading skills, and overall learning.

Improved memory, a higher IQ, better communication skills and increased attention span seem like a recipe for success. But still so many schools don’t make early music education mandatory, and worse, programs are being cut at alarming rates according to a 2017 study titled, The Status of Music Education in the United States Public Schools. Instead, we make room for more formal courses of study like reading and math, which are important, but at the expense of vital arts programming.

However, some schools and programs embody a rich arts programs and trust the research and data that support brain development through music. One such program comes out of the Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork (WSRF), led by master musician, Chris Harrison. He hones his skills playing bassoon with the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra, collaborates as a faculty member of Jazz Aspen Snowmass and is the owner of the Rock and Roll Academy for middle and high school students living in the Roaring Fork Valley.

According to Chris, building an individual’s social character is a crucial component in how we will be defining “success” in the years to come. He feels strongly that music study and participation provide unique opportunities to grow and develop the whole person. To this end, if you interview some of Chris’s students, you can hear comments that speak toward their budding self-esteem.

For example, “Playing the cello calms me down and lets me think. I think it’s the vibrations moving through me.” Or, “Mr. Harrison gave me an opportunity to introduce myself to a new instrument. I was passionate to learn the oboe because it seems hard to play and I was ready to try something new.” This is the type of growth mindset Mr. Harrison believes will support their overall success in the future.

When the time comes for a child to enter high school, the importance of music education may become even more crucial as teenagers have to learn to sort out their swirling, heightened, new emotions. Music can, therefore, be used as freedom of expression to release powerful feelings of anger, love, sadness, and joy.

George Weber, the director of the music program at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS), enjoys facilitating this time in a student's life. For the past twenty-three years, George has considered himself a guide whose role is to instill in his students a deep love for music and self-awareness in an idyllic setting. He’s eager and ready to support their musical journey.

The CRMS music program is unique because so much of it is student driven. Class size is very small, meaning no more than ten students work together with George at a time. There are classes for beginners through advanced, with everything in between. Besides students choosing their instrument and type of music they want to play, George takes it a step further. He figures out what music means to the students. He wants to know what type of life his students want to get out of playing music and how he can teach them to make the kinds of decisions that will get them there.

For some, “It’s never just about the music,” George states matter-of-factly. He then points out a CRMS graduate, Jackson Emmer, who was able to take his love of music to another level. “In addition to the incredible skill, talent, and passion, Jackson possessed a social networking component crucial in the age of self-recording and promotion.

For others though, music in high school will never go farther than playing the guitar in the band or singing a passionate rendition of Stairway to Heaven at the local karaoke bar. That’s okay too because we know music is also a powerful tool for communication, teamwork, relaxation, self- expression, and unity. Providing our children with this type of balance in an increasingly competitive global economy can be crucial in a time where society is heavy on the facts, stats and balance sheets.

When we begin to doubt the power of music education or its value on a people, we can summon some of the more enchanting works ever created. There’s real power in Louis Armstrong’s, What a Wonderful World because it can bring the strongest-willed person to tears. Cheering for a sports team never came so easily as when belting out Queen’s, We Will Rock You in a packed stadium. And Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana touches every single cell on the human body making you feel like tackling your next big project with enthusiasm, and maybe a torch, too. Even a modern, day love ballad by Taylor Swift or Ed Sheeran can elicit strong emotions, just ask any angst-ridden teen.
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