An After-School Music Program
Nutrition for the Mind and Soul
Understanding the benefits of a music program
To quote Stilson Greene, "A hand creating art rarely creates violence". Research shows a strong correlation between music education and a person’s success in life. Those involved in quality music programs tend to do better in school; score higher on standardized tests; be less inclined to engage in risky behavior; and be more inclined to take advantage of positive opportunities made available to them.
Music helps with a person’s social development. Learning to play an instrument teaches discipline, builds self esteem and develops self confidence. It lets them express their emotions and is one of the few activities that can be enjoyed by anyone; there is no stereotype image based on gender, race, national origin or physical attributes. Those engaged in a music program tend to meet a broader spectrum of other people who share the same interest; this helps them understand and appreciate their differences; an important consideration in today’s diverse society.
The first people to understand how music really works were the ancient Greeks. The Greeks believed that music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was seen as the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects; music was seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects. Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us.
Modern day research has shown that we know a great deal that we have no awareness of knowing. Much of our experience is not directly accessible to our own thoughts and reflections. In short, the brain is set up to use many, perhaps most, of our experiences without “allowing” them to gain access to our consciousness. This mass of information is stored within us, yet is invisible to our own awareness. Our auditory system is able to organize streams of sound into the specific perceptions that we experience consciously; we are aware of the guitar strumming, the drum beating, or any of an uncountable number of musical sounds. Our perceptions are experienced easily and immediately to us; they are made possible only because of the unconscious workings of the auditory system.
Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the first organized public expression of grief, our first communal response to that historic event, was a concert in Central Park. That was the beginning of a sense that life might go on. Hundreds of thousands of people came together to hear and sing music. Why, because music allows us to move around those big invisible pieces of ourselves and rearrange our insides so that we can express what we feel even when we can’t talk about it.
We use music as the vehicle to capture the attention and spark the imagination of people in need of support and guidance. Our goal is to improve their lives; we use the benefits derived from participating in a music program and our instructor’s mentoring to achieve that goal.