California Educator

February/March 2020

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Page 34 of 63

In celebration of music education and the power it can have in students' develop- ment and well-being, March is designated by the National Association for Music Edu- cation (NAfME) as Music in Our Schools Month. The month has been celebrated for more than 30 years to raise awareness of the importance of music education , advocate for quality music programs in all public schools, and show the many benefits that school music brings to students. According to NAfME, studies show that partic- ipation in music education increases children's creativity, self-discipline, critical thinking and self-es- teem, and enhances the development of abstract thinking skills. Music education also provides stu- dents with a sense of cultural heritage, inspiring appreciation of emotions and experience of others. Music educator Alex Willert says there's so much more going on in his vocal classes than learning about the music itself. "I look at music as a way to teach life lessons. My students learn leadership skills and how to work together to accomplish things," says Willert, choir director at Brea Olinda High School and Brea Junior High, and member of Brea Olinda Teachers Association (BOTA). "It's not just learning some notes and singing some songs. It's about teaching them to grow as people. ere's a lot more you can learn from being in a choir than notes and words." For 37 years, Jim Hahn has shared the joy of music with students at Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District. e band director of a 300-student program at Tuffree Middle School, Hahn says the skills and knowledge needed to perform in a marching band require students to engage in a high level of thinking that can benefit them in all their academic endeav- ors. From needing to be mindful of posture and head position to marching steps and keeping time to play- ing the right notes on instruments, all at the same time, there's a lot going on in a marching band. "It's a whole lot for students to comprehend, and it gets them thinking about complex concepts," says Hahn, a member of Association of Placentia-Linda Educators. "Music gets them to think a different way." Constant need for resources, funding A fact of life as a music educator is lack of funding and a constant need for resources. e decades-long practice " When I see the magic and excitement of students figuring it out for themselves, it's a rewarding experience for both of us — because they did it and I provided them with the tools." — Sammie Flanzbaum, Mt. Diablo Education Association Music education helps students realize what they're capable of accomplishing with practice and dedication. 33 F E B R U A R Y / M A R C H 2 0 2 0 Alex Willert

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