Social and cognitive benefits of being enrolled in Grade 7 Band

Greetings to parents of Grade 7 students,

In May of 2016 my wife, violinist Nancy DiNovo, was a speaker at a convention of crown prosecutors.  A musician – speaking to lawyers!?!  She was asked to speak on ways of dealing with stage fright – the nervousness that can occur during a performance (such as speaking to a judge and jury!).  From her experience as a musician, she was able to offer them practical ways of effectively dealing with their anxiety.  What I found fascinating from my conversations with many lawyers following her presentation was how many of them had been involved in school music programs, that some had university Music degrees, and that many still play an instrument for pleasure and social reasons.

By now you should have received a letter from SD41 asking whether or not you will be enrolling your child in the Elementary Band Program in September 2016.  With more and more research showing the positive benefits music education has on the cognitive and social development of a child, if you are under the impression, as some people are, band is only a “fun” class, I ask you to read below and check out some of the following links:

Dr. Lee Henriksson, University of British Columbia Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration, 1998 
“There is a growing body of research that suggests that when arts are developed and included as part of the core curricula, students have more and better chances of achieving their greatest potential.”

Upitis, R. (2011).  Engaging students through the arts.  The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat, [Monograph 33].  Toronto, ON: The Royal Conservatory of Music.
“Student engagement is central to learning.  Those students who are fully engaged are ready to learn in every way – physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually.  The arts play a vital role in ensuring that students remain engaged by encouraging them to learn in physical and embodied ways, by inviting them to collaborate with peers, by requiring them to respond emotionally and by calling upon their cognitive capacities as they learn in, through, and about the arts. . . . The arts add enjoyment to the day and make students more alert to other kinds of learning.”

Kuzmich, N (2010).  Brain-music connection: Activations that continue to amaze.  The Canadian Music Educator, 52(2), 8-9
“Regular engagement with music can exert lasting effects of brain function, on brain malleability throughout life.”

Moreno, S., Bialystok, E., Barac, R., Schellenberg, E.G., Cependa, N.J., & Chau, T. (2011).  Short-term music training enhances verbal intelligence and executive functions, supporting the possibility of broad transfer between high-level cognitive abilities.”
“Our findings demonstrate a causal relationship between music training and improvements in language and executive functions, supporting the possibility of broad transfer between high-level cognitive abilities.”

Daniel Pink, author of NY Times and Business Week bestseller, A Whole New Mind – Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. 2005
“The era of “left brain” dominance, and the Information Age that it engendered, is giving away to a new world in which “right brain” qualities – inventiveness, empathy, and meaning, predominate. That’s what business is about today. This is a hard-headed argument that arts education is not ornamental but fundamental for economic reasons.”

Music MakesUs website:

Learning music . . .
– Music programs improve the atmosphere for learning
– Music programs help students achieve in other academic subjects like math, science, and reading

– Music programs keep students engaged in school and less likely to drop out
– Music programs help communities share ideas and values among cultures and generations

– Music programs provide students with opportunities to:
~ express themselves in verbal and non-verbal ways
~ appreciate diverse perspectives, openness and flexibility in thinking
~ develop a high level of self-awareness and self-confidence
~ develop a rich and healthy sense of beauty and imagination

– Music develops skills needed by the 21st Century workplace
~ critical and analytical thinking
~ creative problem solving
~ effective communication

5. IS FUN!!!

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