Take note: Music improves learning

Childhood, when minds are young, open and quick to absorb information, is the most vital time to play music.

Statistics show that playing an instrument pays off; there is a direct correlation between playing a musical instrument and achieving higher grades.

When I attended All State, a prestigious performing group, the conductor asked for a show of hands to the following question: “Who of you is on honor roll or principal’s honor roll?”

The majority of the band members raised their hands. This is not a coincidence.

Achievement is a desire for many children who play a musical instrument, and that personality trait spreads to other subjects as well, including success in academic courses.

This tendency is not new: Notice how many significant artists and musicians of the past were also scientists, engineers, architects and owned other academically linked professions.

But in a child’s life, music supplies much more beyond statistics. In music, expression flows with utmost ability from children of all ages.

When experiencing an emotion, children can use their sensitive spirits to channel and convey their deepest feelings through simply playing notes.

The music world teems with competitions, where bands see other bands perform and meet friends.

I have a “family” composed of all the role-model conductors and priceless characters I have met, including private teachers and friends in the community who support each other and enjoy their priceless connection through music, which is our life.

That’s why I was so upset to learn that my county, Fulton, was proposing to drop elementary school band and orchestra because of a $120 million budget deficit. I am not alone in my concerns, as nearly 6,000 people signed a petition in support of the program and its positive impact on students

The school board plans to eliminate it and move to a fee-based after-school program for fourth- and fifth-graders.

If I could speak to the school board, I would tell them that clarinet is my passion; I someday aim to be a clarinetist of world renown and impact society strongly.

I picked up the clarinet in the fourth grade. At the time it seemed like a whim, but I was unaware that I would practice so much and meet a plethora of people who also do what I love.

The musical experience I have had is a priceless passion that I share with my deepest friends.

Music is a door that I have opened at such a young age; I doubt I would have begun at all as a sixth-grader, due to the adjustment to middle school.

Band is a healthy experience that harvests friendship and undying love.

It also is the ultimate team sport; there are no bench warmers.

Band can also keep kids out of trouble as they adjust to the changes in their young lives.

The door I have opened is one I will never exit, for I can testify to the everyday miracles by simply playing the instrument I would never leave.

But right now, who has the key? Instrumental music is a powerful and sacred art that must be left alone to strive.

Don’t deprive the little kids of their outlets. If Fulton County slaughters such a feat, what makes it so special from the other counties?

Opportunities such as these should not be stolen from tomorrow’s musicians, artists, scientists and doctors.

Look at the facts. And save our bands and orchestras before you annihilate a new generation of artists.

Rachel Smith is an eighth-grader in Fulton County.