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Music lessons and kids: power from lesson one

Published: Thursday, Jan. 10 2013 6:55 p.m. MST

The program works only with students up through the eighth grade currently, she said, and attendance at better high schools has been one change for many of the students involved with music education during early schooling years.

"We look at their confidence, their self-esteem, their responsibility, their creativity, their academic motivation," Damkohler said. "We do want their math and reading scores to go up; we really want music to be a part of their lives."

Immersion — whether it's by way of one-on-one training, or music education in classroom curriculum — is one of the essential ways for the effects of music education to really make a difference for children, and those who continue with music throughout adulthood.

Only a small percentage of money is used for music to become a part of education in many schools, according to Damkohler, and oftentimes it is for an enrichment program — performers or instructors from Juilliard or Carnegie Hall — to come for week or so of the school year for basic instruction.

"While they are phenomenal, they only serve one grade and if that's all they get, the children won't be excited about it," she said. "But if you study music as core discipline, by the time an enrichment program comes, they are excited.

"When I go into schools and they tell me about their program for just fourth graders ... I say, 'So if you bring someone from MIT and they show (one grade) things for one week, will the whole school be smarter, better with math, afterwards?' I cannot tell you how many schools just don't value quality music instruction. ... When you build a house, you need a foundation."

Mandy Morgan is an intern for the Deseret News, reporting on issues pertaining to both I family and values in the media. She is a true-blue Aggie, studying Journalism and Political Science at Utah State University, and hails from Highland, Utah.

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