The arts are alive at Shaker Road School! At our most recent spring music recital, nearly 60 students performed pieces ranging from solo piano to rock band duos and violin concertos. And the spring concert followed our fall music recital, a band and chorus concert, and two successful drama productions. In just a few weeks, we will host our annual dance recital followed by the middle school drama production of Into the Woods Jr. And, the school year will conclude in June with our oldest tradition, Spring Fling!
Below is a post from Rachel Minsinger, our beloved music teacher who has an undying passion for all things related to music. If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend a music recital or concert this year, treat yourself to one of the remaining performances…you will be amazed at what such young talent can achieve!
The music program at Shaker Road School is unique for so many reasons. First, we offer an incredible variety of classes to a wide range of ages. From general music instruction to private lessons, chorus, concert band, rock band, jazz band and A Cappella groups…phew! There are so many choices and opportunities to explore and so many genres of music and ways to perform! All of these incredible music opportunities help to enrich our students, our school, our families, and our local community.
Second, most schools begin music instruction in kindergarten or first grade, but by infusing music into our infant program, SRS students are exposed to quality literature and vocal models that help prepare them for exciting opportunities in the future. Exposure to quality music at a young age can help students be more musical and appreciate the arts later in life. Research has shown improvement in cognition in students who engage in music from an early age.
Third, many schools across the United States, particularly middle schools, have cut music curricula in order to reduce costs. At SRS, we believe that participation in music at this critical age is vital to developing an appreciation for the arts and expanding one’s confidence. In addition to general music class, middle school students can also participate in music electives. Students who may not have a desire to sing or play a traditional instrument find that these elective classes provide opportunities to make music in “alternative” ways. For example, students can study music technology, learn how to use our recording studio, or participate in an instrument workshop.
Fourth, participation in music varies among American students, but it is consistently high with SRS students. Middle schools typically have a participation rate in the performing arts (music, drama, and dance) around 50%. At SRS, 70% of our students in grades 5-8 participate in music courses provided at school. Over 70% participate in at least one of the elective arts activities including dance, drama, and music. And, many of our students participate in two or more activities.
Lastly, the music program at SRS is more than just singing, vocal lessons, and instrument instruction — it enriches our community. We typically have full houses at our music concerts and recitals. And, the culmination of our music program is the annual Spring Fling. This school-wide performance showcases the hard work of students from Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade. Families, friends, alumni, teachers and staff gather together under a huge tent in the warm spring sunshine to celebrate education beyond the “traditional” classroom. We gather as a community to hear amazing music, watch rock band performances, see smiling faces sing loudly, and demonstrate our commitment to investing in our children’s lifelong interest in the arts.