Friday, January 25, 2019

Inspiring a Love for Musical Instruments in Elementary School

Our vision in Isle of Wight County Schools is to create a learning environment that will enable every child to discover his or her unique gifts and talents.  This year, three of our elementary schools are introducing students to instruments through their music classes.  Carrsville Elementary is redefining itself as an integrated arts school and, in September, they launched a unique music program.  All students, beginning with kindergarten, spend 30 minutes every day learning to play the violin.  Holding the violin and the bow properly, reading music, and playing the notes are just some of what the students are mastering. I am extremely impressed with the progress the students are making in such a short time.  Windsor Elementary expanded their music program this year with the addition of keyboards during their music resource time.  The students are enthusiastic and excited to not just sing music, but to play selections on the keyboard, including some created by the students themselves.   Carrollton Elementary recently added guitars to their music program, thanks to a Donors Choose grant.  Smithfield High student Lily Eng works with the Carrollton music classes on Friday and came up with the idea for a grant for guitars. Now students are learning to play an instrument as part of their music class.

While teaching students to play a musical instrument is the primary goal of both programs, there are many additional benefits for our young learners. Studies show that learning a musical instrument reduces feelings of anxiety, builds greater control of emotions and improves focus. It also builds grit and determination. Even if students don't continue studying an instrument when they leave elementary school, the skills they acquire will assist them for years to come.

I encourage you to watch the video below and hear from the students and teachers on the positive impact these programs are having. "Bravo" to these students for their enthusiasm and tenacity as they expand their musical horizons.

Violins! Pianos! Guitars! OH MY! (video)