Happy Thanksgiving from ETM! We are so grateful for your support of our partner school students. Because of inspiring donors like you, nearly 27,000 inner-city children across all five boroughs in New York City are immersed in weekly in-school music classes—many for the first time ever! Your support helped us launch 48 new partnerships this fall. Your commitment to music education is creating nurturing environments that use music to shape young minds, as children develop the cognitive skills and emotional intelligence crucial for reaching their full potential.
Receiving music as a core subject increases students’ higher-level thinking skills and helps them reach new heights in their social and emotional development. It’s a life-changing impact you can witness in our partner school students.
Students like Amir, a PreK student in the Bronx, who—for the first time in his school life—is experiencing the world through music. As an English Language Learner, language often acts as a barrier for Amir at school—inhibiting his ability to connect with his classmates and teachers. His ETM music teacher shared that Amir usually seems sad and withdrawn because of his inability to fully express himself in English. However, one day, Amir silently walked over to her and started to play a drum. She joined him and starting playing another drum. “His face was full of excitement,” she explained, “and you could tell he was finally happy! We communicated through high-fives and smiles while he continued to have a great time playing his drum.” In that moment, music served as a universal language that sparked a true connection between Amir and his music teacher. She notes that from that day on, Amir has participated in every activity in music class with a huge smile across his face. She remarked, “I might not be able to understand his native language, but I am able to see that music has made a true impact on his life—one that needs no language to explain.”
Now Amir displays more confidence in himself and walks around with his head held up high. He’s more independent and is making huge leaps in achieving proficiency in English. Just seeing that music class is on the schedule for the day excites Amir, who is overcoming his language hurdles one drum beat at a time. Music is driving him towards a future where he will be able to fully articulate his feelings and thrive in any setting.
Stories like Amir’s can only happen because supporters like you make generous investments in their lives. Sponsoring a child’s music education has a tremendous and measurable impact—especially if the child has never before experienced music as a constant part of their school routine. Suddenly, doors open and brighter futures are on the horizon. Music class acts as a catalyst for students’ improved academic achievement, motivation for school, and self-confidence. Even more, it fills children with a joy and happiness that transcends all barriers. Our students thank you for your belief in them!
Share this report with your family and friends and let them know how they can make a difference in the lives of children like Amir—an impact that will last long after the holiday.
For many students at our first-year partner schools, this past school year was full of firsts. It was the first time that music class was a constant presence in their school life. It was the first time they performed on a stage for family and friends. It was the first time that through music education they achieved a positive attitude toward school, higher self-esteem and self-confidence, and a greater sense of creativity. Because of your support, students who had never before had a music program at their school received quality music instruction every week for an entire school year, enriching their learning experience and enlivening their school routine. Your generosity for our partner school students has turned school into a place where dramatic transformations are not only possible, but are seen among their peers, where success is attainable for any child who reaches for it, and where music class is means to a brighter future.
At first-year partner school, P.S. 369 in the Bronx, ETM music teacher—Ms. Summa— noticed that one third-grade student in particular exhibited a significant shift in attitude and behavior since music class began. Nicole had a reputation for being a troubled student who was uninterested in learning and sought attention in class by acting out. But her misbehavior was masking her frustration with school and a lack of confidence in herself. As the year progressed, Ms. Summa observed Nicole steadily develop into a model student through music class. First, Nicole learned how to read music much more easily and quickly than her classmates, helping her improve her academic performance in other classes as well. At home, Nicole practiced on her recorder every day after school, which translated to a deeper grasp of lessons in music class. She was able to play any rhythm that was given to her, which gave her a reason to believe in herself. Nicole had a natural gift for music that no one had discovered before. Tapping into her natural musical abilities led her to excel in unprecedented ways. She no longer felt the need to act out, because she was receiving attention in music class. Ms. Summa rewarded Nicole with a solo on a metallophone in the spring concert. Her increased self-confidence and self-esteem was on full display as she struck her metallophone proudly. Playing instruments and being entrusted with additional responsibility gave Nicole a reason to leave behind her misbehavior and head in a new direction. With music education in her life, Nicole is on track to a successful and productive future. Ms. Summa can’t wait to have her in her class next year and build upon her musical skills and knowledge.
Nicole is just one of the thousands of students that benefited from your gracious support this year. First-year partnerships are at the heart of our partner school program; they illustrate the immediate beneficial effects music can have on students and over time, demonstrate how comprehensive, skills-based music instruction can make a measurable impact on students’ academic and personal growth. Thank you for helping us bring music education into the lives of thousands of deserving children this year. Show your support for ETM by sharing this report with a family member or a friend; let them how far their generosity can go, too!
With summer on the horizon, Education Through Music’s partner school students are working diligently to end the school year strong. It’s been a productive and exciting year filled with transformations, growth, and fun —especially for our first-year partner students! Thanks to your generous support, these students have enjoyed a year of quality weekly music instruction; learned how to take pride in themselves through concert performances for their family and friends; and developed a deep understanding of and appreciation for music. We want to share with you excerpts from essays by 5th graders at first-year partner school P.S. 87 in the Bronx. Each student was asked to describe why music is important to them.
Dana expressed how playing the viola has had an emotional impact on her.
“Music is important to me because it helps me stay calm. It also helps me be very focused. Music gives me something to look forward to everyday and lets me express my creativity. Being a musician is fun. I eat, breathe, and sleep music now.”
Xavier focused on the benefits from playing music.
“Music can make people feel happy. From playing music a person can learn how to multi-task. For instance when you’re playing you need to place your finger in the right place on the right string. I play the cello. The cello is a very awesome instrument to play. Music is important to me because at home when I do not feel good, playing my cello makes me feel better.”
Kayla shared the insight she’s gained in music class.
“Music can relax you and make you feel blissful when you feel sad. Counting helps musicians be on time when playing an instrument. This allows the music piece to sound like it is flowing, otherwise it will be rushed and will feel like a blur. You can use anything from your environment to make music such as pots, pans, possibly bottles filled with rice. In music you can be yourself and have fun.”
Because of your support, students have made wonderful discoveries about themselves and the world around them. You have helped us utilize music education to steer thousands of deserving students in New York City toward a brighter, more successful future. These students’ essays where overflowing with gratitude for having music in their lives. Thank you for making music education a reality for them. Consider passing this report along to a friend or colleague who can help us continue to make a difference in the lives of children in need.
We’re over halfway through the school year, and your support of our 1st-Year Partner School Programs is having an extraordinary impact on our students! Thanks to you, thousands of children throughout New York City are experiencing dramatic transformations within themselves since receiving music education as part of their school routine.
Mr. Schatz, a music teacher at partner school P.S. 109, reflected on the positive influence music education has had on his 4th-grade student, William.
“William has an excitable personality and often has difficulty focusing in class. He decided to join the after-school chorus program, and has expressed a serious interest in drumming. I believe the simple act of making music has offered this child the opportunity to excel at something outside of his day-to-day life. Since joining the chorus and getting to play instruments, I have noticed his focus improve, and he has been continually asking, no--begging me to start a drum ensemble! It makes me feel really great that music is resonating with him so much. In addition, his mom is thrilled that he is participating in the program, and showing initiative.”
William’s transformation reflects the key improvements ETM seeks to achieve in students through our Partner School Program: increase children’s academic achievement and self-confidence, boost their motivation for school, and spark a deep interest in music.
Your support made William’s transformation possible by bringing ETM to his school. P.S. 109 is a K-5 school located in a low socioeconomic area in the West Bronx that began its partnership with ETM this school year. Because of YOU, all of P.S. 109’s 820 students are now receiving music as a core subject. Our partnership began when Principal Claudio was referred by Principal Reyes of P.S. 103, a school which was already partnering with ETM. In addition to the core general music instruction and after-school chorus provided in collaboration by ETM and P.S. 109, we hope to strengthen the program in the future by adding a band ensemble. One exceptional moment of success at P.S. 109 occurred last fall when Carmen Fariña, the New York City Chancellor for the Department of Education visited the school, and the 4th- and 5th-grade choir performed at a ceremony.
Your continued support enables ETM to embark upon new partnerships, widen our reach of students, and enrich more communities. Deserving students like William wouldn’t be afforded the opportunity to grow and succeed without your support. We thank you for transforming the lives of these children through music education!
The holiday season is an inspiring time for Education Through Music’s partner schools—and especially for those in their first year of working with ETM. After months of focused preparation, students perform in festive year-end concerts for family and friends (and for many of them, it’s their first time on stage!). Music teachers pause to take pride in how much their students have grown since only September. And we at ETM thank YOU for your dedicated support of inner-city music education. You make it all possible!
One music teacher, who works at two of ETM’s first-year partner schools, enthusiastically shares how her students have found joy and confidence through music class:
“In all of my classes, I have watched students come out of their shells… I have my students singing, dancing, acting, and playing instruments. I think being aware and comfortable of your body and movement is important in everyday life. It's amazing because every day I notice more and more students becoming confident in their own skin.”
She describes how singing has given one troubled student a constructive outlet for his emotions:
“One student, in particular, is known for having anger issues and physically lashing out. In my eyes, though, this student is extremely musical and has a lot of potential. My class gives him the opportunity to shine and show a different side to his personality that many teachers or staff rarely get to see. One fact that many would not know about this student is that he LOVES the song, ‘If I Could Fly Like A Snowflake.’ The first week I introduced this song, I could see a spark in his eyes. He was singing and dancing and he was genuinely happy. As I said, this student is known for his unsafe behavior. I see him in a completely different light. I see him as the student who is enthusiastic about music and who loves to sing. Whenever I see this student in a bad mood, I always remind him of the ‘Snowflake’ song and he instantly starts to regain control. Music has the ability to lift one’s spirits and change how we perceive the world around us. To this one young student, this song reminds him of happier thoughts and is able to help him get through rough parts of the day.”
Music has given this child an opportunity to express himself in a way that other classes have not. Singing helps him control his emotions and gives his teachers and school staff a better picture of his potential. Stories like this underscore how ETM values music education: as a subject important in its own right, and as a tool for promoting growth and development in other areas—emotional, social, and academic. 5,000 students are receiving these opportunities for the very first time this year, as their schools have just begun partnering with ETM. We couldn’t give these opportunities to deserving students without your support. Thank you!
Please forward this report to your family and friends and encourage them to learn about ETM. Have a wonderful holiday!
With sincere thanks,
The ETM Staff
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