Playing the Violin Strengthens Joshua’s Focus
In a recent essay, 6th Grader Joshua explained the physiological effect music has on people. He wrote, “People may feel uneasy or stressed out at times and studies have shown that music can severely reduce stress in the body. As people play their instruments, their unpleasant energy transfers into a more positive energy, as a result reducing the heart rate that leads to stress.”
This bright young student uses music to de-stress and to relax. Joshua shared “Music is important to me because after school – after studying and doing homework – I can just relax to music and enjoy it.” As a violinist, he also explained how the intricacies of playing an instrument helps strengthen his focus. Joshua’s mom added, “Studying music is vital for Joshua and all students because music helps children strengthen their communication, math, and problem-solving skills and helps children to focus and to develop teamwork.”
Joshua has experienced the benefits of music education, and he will carry these skills with him for the rest of his life, no matter what his future holds. Joshua shared, “Music makes me feel happy because there are so many ways of expressing yourself with music.”
Joshua’s mom confided, “I have been yearning for my children to play an instrument. As we have limited time and resources, learning to play instruments was considered a luxury. But Joshua and his older sister, Abellaine, are playing violin thanks to ETM-LA. From the depths of my heart, thank you to ETM-LA teachers and staff for all your dedication and hard work.”
Summer Academy for the New School Year
In August, our dedicated teachers and local educators came together in person for Education Through Music-LA’s intensive week-long Summer Academy. Participants explored culturally relevant and diverse strategies for teaching music in under-resourced communities, best practices in classroom management and procedures, student engagement, curriculum design, and more. Teachers and staff alike were excited to reunite and dive into preparing for the new school year!
Guest presenters Dr. Ric Alviso (Ethnomusicologist/ Composer; Santa Monica College; CA State University, Northridge) and Keith Terry (Percussionist/ Rhythm Dancer/ Educator; UCLA; Founding Director, Crosspulse) led workshops covering a wide range of topics along with ETM-LA’s Program Department and Faculty.
ETM-LA believes in continually amplifying the voices of our students and communities. Therefore, Cultural Equity and Inclusion (CEI), Culturally Responsive Teaching (CRT), and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) remain paramount in our ongoing practices and training. The Academy featured workshops on Multicultural Music Exploration, Using CRT and SEL as Building Blocks to Classroom Success, Getting to Know Your Community, and more topics – offering key tools to help teachers more deeply research, reflect upon, and explore ways to build cultural, authentic connections.
After intimate round-table discussions with local district leaders, school psychologists, and experts in social services, one music teacher shared: “Each table addressed a very intimidating aspect of teaching and I feel much more confident in my ability to navigate those situations. I’m also very grateful to have those connections and support systems in place if I need help.”
Other feedback from participants included: “[It was] very helpful to see the direct relationships between grade level and the objectives and ideal teaching methods for each age group.” And when asked what the most invaluable takeaway was, one member responded, “Everything!”
ETM-LA looks forward to continuing this vital work during the 2022-23 school year!