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Fine arts lessons last a lifetime

Published 12:07am Thursday, April 19, 2012

First Dowagiac, now Edwardsburg, face painful fine arts cuts where eliminating one position can mean half the leadership of a large band organization.
Schools talk about how to “engage” students with technology and new classroom designs.
Like C.J. Brooks, Edwardsburg Co-Directors Thomas Crowner and Spencer White clearly do.
As a freshman related Tuesday night, “I didn’t really like playing my recorder, but I ended up joining percussion. Edwardsburg band really fostered my love for music. Now I live and breathe music, writing lyrics, and drawing. My teachers often tell me to stop drumming my fingers and tapping my feet. Mr. White is the teacher I connect most with. He has been a true role model for four years and helped me through a lot of stuff. Over the summer I want to learn keyboards and wind instruments. We inspire fans at the football games with ‘Bling.’ We were on the verge of tears or crying our eyes out when we found out Mr. White had been cut. The arts are my favorite thing in the world.”
Aside from the strong family-like bond long band hours forge and emotional tie to these trusted surrogate parents, there are plenty of academic arguments for why fine arts should be the last thing cut instead of the first.
Analysis of SAT data for 10 years showed students who took four years of fine arts courses in high school earned the highest verbal and math scores.
Students who study music outperform non-musical peers on assessment tests regardless of socioeconomic status or race.
Music education improves recall and retention of verbal information and boosts reading language arts.
Students with band backgrounds and orchestra experience attend college at a rate twice the national average.
Sixty-six percent of music majors who apply to medical school are admitted — the highest percentage of any group, including pre-med and microbiology.
A majority of engineers and technical designers in Silicon Valley, Calif., are participating musicians.
Higher scores equate to more income for school districts, too.
The lessons of fine arts last a lifetime.

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