The vast majority of teachers and parents across the country believe that budget cuts in music programs hurt their students, says the NAMM Foundation, a supporting organization of the National Association of Music Merchants. Despite this, more than 1.3 million pre-secondary school students and about 800,000 high schoolers go without music programs or classes throughout the United States.
Studies have shown that students who study music tend to have larger vocabularies and more advanced reading skills than their peers who do not participate in music lessons, and schools that offer music programs have an attendance rate of 93.3% compared to an 84.9% in schools without them. Furthermore, it has been observed that students who study and make music get along with their classmates better and have fewer discipline problems, and more of them get into preferred colleges.
While an overwhelming amount of data points to music classes being essential for learning, the risk of losing these programs altogether often boils down to funding priority to core classes such as English and Math – two subjects that cannot be cut from any curriculum. Though measures have been taken to keep music in schools across the country, many districts continue struggle to keep funding and support for music and the arts do to lack of awareness of the issue.
The month of March has been dubbed “Music In Our Schools Month” by the National Association for Music Education. Beginning as a single statewide Advocacy Day and celebration in New York in 1973, Music In Our Schools Month has grown into a month-long annual campaign to engage music teachers, students, and communities in promoting the benefits of music education programs in schools. Schools around the country celebrate this campaign many different ways, often having concerts and performances around this time.
Londonderry High School promises to bring music to the community’s ears with a busy Music in Schools Month.
“We’ve got three concerts to celebrate the month,” said LHS band, orchestra, and jazz director, Serge Beaulieu.
Beaulieu said that the high school would be holding one concert per week starting on Wednesday, March 14th, along with a performance at the UNH Jazz Festival on Saturday, March 10th, and a Coffee House on Friday, March 16th.
The three district concerts will consist of the District String Concert on Wednesday, March 14 from 7 to 8 p.m., the District Choral Concert on Wednesday, March 21 from 7 to 8 p.m., and the Band-O-Rama on Wednesday, March 28 from 7 to 8 p.m
According to Beaulieu, current LHS music director, Andy Soucy had originally intended for Band-O-Rama to include the elementary and middle school band students along with the high school band, but it had grown so quickly that there soon wasn’t room to accommodate all of the students at once. In recent years, the concert has included the Londonderry Middle School 8th grade band to play alongside the three LHS concert bands.
Beaulieu said that the Coffee House being held in the Londonderry High School cafeteria on Friday, March 16 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. will include pop, rock, and folk music. The Coffee Houses at LHS feature student musicians from each grade level, and in recent years have been filmed by the students of the LHS video production program working under staff and students from the New England School of Communications from Husson University.
Beaulieu stated that attendance at the schools’ performances was vital in keeping Londonderry’s thriving music programs strong.
“I think that a lot of the elements of the (music) program are similar to athletic activities,” Beaulieu said, “in that there is a lot of team building and confidence building, dedication…it’s real important for people to understand that.”
For more information on and resources for Music In Our Schools Month, visit nafme.org. For more information on upcoming events in music at LHS, visit www.lancermusic.org