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School Finds Music Is the Food of Learning
December 20, 2014 2:15 AM

No surprise here: include a healthy dose of music and vocal classes every day and voila! -- you get higher test scores and happier children.

The images and sounds from this voice charter school in Queens, NY, are just so dang cute:

"There's a lot of humming, especially right after choir class," Kate Athens, a fourth-grade teacher, said. "They're not doing it to be disruptive; it's just stuck in their heads."

And it also comes out in their higher test scores:

Academically, students at Voice did significantly better than the city average on New York State math exams last year, with 70 percent of its students passing, compared with 39 percent citywide. Their English performance was less impressive, but with 39 percent passing, it still beat the citywide average of 30 percent.

The despicable cuts in arts funding notwithstanding:

All this pops especially brightly against the drab state of the arts in New York City public schools at large, where a report by the comptroller this spring found that spending on arts supplies and equipment fell by 84 percent from 2006 to 2013. The report also found that 20 percent of public schools had no arts teachers at all, and that the dearth in arts education was especially dire in low-income areas. The administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio has since increased arts funding and pledged to hire 120 new arts teachers in middle and high schools, where state law requires arts instruction.

But the really deep and lasting effect is as Ms. Athens describes:

"They learn to stick with something hard and breaking things down into steps," she said. "And work together as a group at such a young age."

All professional musicians have integrated this concept into their daily lives and apply it to every endeavor. Learning music at this high level is a skill set these kids will take with them for the rest of their lives.

This story is not surprising and should be applied all over the country. One can only hope!

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