Local students stay tuned in to turn on to learning

March is Music in Our Schools Month, but Youngsville Elementary Middle School (YEMS) Music Teacher Patty Bush and her students agree it’s important throughout the school year.

Bush’s sixth grade music class took time Monday morning to show off their talents, playing The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer” on ukulele before talking about why music is an important part of education.

“Music is important because it helps us to express our culture,” student Jasmine Etter said.

“Music is a way to kind of express how we feel,” student Paul Schwanke pointed out.

According to the students, music has some important academic side benefits as well.

“I think the music helps you to relax,” student David Tremblay said. “Like, if you’re taking a test, it helps you not worry about getting bad grades.”

Bush said music is an integral part of a complete education.

“Music education, as a part of overall education, it just gives you a well-rounded education, which is important,” Bush said. “It’s been proven that students that are involved in music excel at their academics. Not to mention that it’s fun and it’s something they can carry with them for the rest of their life.”

Broadening student horizons through music programs isn’t restricted to Youngsville though.

Three of five Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) District Chorus students from the Warren County School District are advancing to regional competition. Warren falls in PMEA District 2, which covers seven counties. PMEA Districts 2 and 3 form PMEA Region II, which contains 13 counties.

Additionally, eight students plus alternates are meeting weekly in preparation for PMEA ChorusFest at Fort LeBoeuf on April 5.

Students at Sugar Grove Elementary School are preparing for their Spring Concert on April 11.

According to Director of Choirs and Middle Level Orchestra Denise Pearson, 23 percent of students at Eisenhower Middle/High School participate in chorus/choir.

“Senior choir is singing especially well this year, and is doing a fabulous job with a capella music,” Pearson said.

The Youngsville Area High School Marching Band is traveling to Ireland again to march in a St. Patrick’s Day parade.

In Sheffield, efforts to re-start a steel drum band are coming to fruition.

At Warren Area Elementary Center (WAEC), concerts are given for individual grade levels in December, February and April. Additional concerts for grades 4 and 5 chorus, orchestra and band are given in December and April. WAEC is also the home of the Warren County Summer Music School in June.

The Russell and Sugar Grove band and strings are slated to perform a spring concert on March 26.

Grade 6 through 12 band and strings students at Eisenhower Middle High School are slated to perform their spring concert May 2.

WAEC Principal Ruth Nelson pointed out some of the benefits of music education.

“Music has an enormous impact on child development and learning,” Nelson said. “Music is a science, for it is exact and specific. Written music is a chart or graph that indicates frequencies, intensities, changes, and time. Music is mathematical for it is based on rhythms and fractions. It can be a foreign language since the notations are generally in Italian, German, or French. Music involves physical education with coordination of fingers, hands and arms and facial, back, stomach, and chest muscles. Music is an art. It allows students to create and show feeling as well as develop social presentation skills. Music is tied into nearly every aspect of learning.”

YEMS student Ethan Morningstar made the most critical endorsement, saying, “Music is cool to listen to and it’s even cooler when you can actually play it.”