As I think back over the 2013-14 school year it has been a year of “music.” Monthly visits with Steve Weiser and the Erie Chamber Orchestra featured 11 hands-on events, concerts and activities. The children enjoyed the brass quintet and percussion concerts, an instrumental petting zoo and were introduced to the violin, cello, bass and oboe to name only a few. Weekly visits by Young People’s Chorus of Erie with Dr. Gabrielle Dietrich, Alyson Amendola, Jeremy Flock, Alaina Manchester directed our high school students as a satellite chorus. In addition, our students participated in a Musical Revue through the Erie Playhouse in April and today we are performing “Here Comes The Sun” at the annual Garden Party (video & photo).
We have seen numerous benefits to the infusion of music in our curriculum.
- The multisensory quality of music allowed students to hear music, be visually stimulated by the movement, imitate the beats and play some instruments
- Music promoted communication among our students, their peers and instructors
- Music was an effective way to stimulate and maintain focus and attention
- Music had a calming effect with many of our children with anxiety disorders
- Students who had difficulty in some academic areas were successful in music
- Rhythm helped students slow down their rate of speech and became more intelligible
The positive changes we have seen in the students’ behavior, communication and emotional well-being are remarkable. Just view this video of “Here Comes The Sun” and you’ll see firsthand the excitement and happiness on their faces.