Music an important part of schools

Dr. James Catterall led an analysis of a U.S. Department of Education database. Called NELLs88, the database was used to track more than 25,000 students over a 10-year period. The results showed that students involved in music generally tested higher in standardized tests, such as the SAT and reading proficiency exams than those who had no music involvement.

Catterall also determined that students of lower socioeconomic status gain as much or more from arts instruction than those of higher socioeconomic status.

U.S. House Congressional Resolution 266, June 13, 2000, resolved that students who participated in school band or orchestra have the lowest level of current lifelong use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs among any group in our society. Neurological Research published in March 1999, that students who were exposed to music based lessons scored a full 100 percent higher on fractions tests than those who learned in the conventional manner.

In a 2003 Gallup poll 95 percent of Americans believe that music is a key component in a child’s well-rounded education; three quarters of those surveyed feel that schools should mandate music education.

A study made by Gardiner, Fox, Jeffrey and Knowles showed that students of lower socioeconomic status who took music lessons in grades K-12 increased their math scores significantly as compared to non-musical students. But just as important reading, history, geography, and even social skills soared by 40 percent and decreased dropout rates of students significantly.

More and more studies have proven that students’ involvement in music at an early age can significantly improve proficiency in their school studies, improve discipline and extend to them a skill or hobby that they can treasure for the rest of their lives.

Years ago I was fortunate as a student at First Street Elementary School in Warren to receive private weekly violin lessons as part of the school program. World War II broke out and the music instructor, John Denovchek, was drafted into military service. Before leaving for the service, he had all of his elementary students of Warren assemble at Warren G. Harding High School to participate in a concert. I can still indulge in a memory of enthusiasm and thrill as an elementary student participating in the orchestral work of ”Finlandia.”

Each year the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra gives free concerts to Trumbull County School children. The last couple of years the Lakeview School District has graciously offered its beautiful auditorium for the event where children are bussed in from various schools to attend.

During this concert the Orchestra’s renowned and brilliant music conductor, Susan Davenny Wyner, has each musician play his/her instrument so that students can identify with each instrument as they hear the music.

This year in collaboration with the Warren City Schools Century21 (after school program) the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra, in a pilot program, plans to place used violins, violas and cellos in the hands of interested children and render free music instruction by musicians of the Orchestra.

If you, your friends, or acquaintances have a used violin, viola or cello that you would care to donate to the WPO for a child to use for instruction you may bring the instrument(s) to the WPO office located at 174 N. Park Avenue (second floor) in Warren or to the office of Frank R. Bodor, WPO President, located at 157 Porter Street, Warren.

If you prefer to have a volunteer pick up the instrument(s) please call the WPO’s office at 330-399-3606 and give your name, address and phone number where the instrument(s) can be retrieved. The Warren Philharmonic Orchestra is a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status.

If you know the person who used the instrument(s) we would like, at your option, to receive a short biography of the person who used the instrument(s) with a notation as to how and when it was used to share with the child who will be so fortunate to benefit by your donation.

Multitudes of studies and statistics now prove the worthiness of music instruction as a cornerstone in child education and the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra is proud to join hands with the Warren City Schools to begin a movement to revive a stringed instruments program for children as a part of their educational prerequisites.

Bodor is Warren Philharmonic Orchestra president.