Fine Arts College Information Night is Just Around the Corner

Our annual Fine Arts College Information Night is coming up on October 10th, 2016, 7-9 pm at Mount Hebron High School in Ellicott City. If you are a student or parent wondering what the future may look like pursuing the arts (music, theater, dance, visual art), please join us for an evening of information and panel discussions.


Portfolio Review and Audition Prep Opportunity

The West Virginia University College of Creative Arts will be holding an event for prospective students:

The College of Creative Arts at West Virginia University will hold Audition and Portfolio Review Days for prospective students and their families, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 7-8, at the Creative Arts Center.

The events provide an opportunity to prospective students who are interested in being reviewed for admission into their program of choice in the School of Music, School of Art and Design, or the School of Theatre and Dance.

Saturday, Feb. 7, is for art and design, music, and theater students who wish to audition or present portfolios for review.

Sunday, Feb. 8, is for dance and music students who wish to audition.

Events will also include meetings with select faculty from each program, along with tours of the Creative Arts Center and meetings with financial aid and admissions representatives.

Students who plan to attend the Audition and Portfolio Days should register in advance. To see the full schedule of events and more details about the audition/portfolio review process, go to the website at

All three schools offer cash awards and scholarship amounts up to a full tuition wavier. The portfolio review/audition days also serve as the application for scholarship consideration.

Students who would like to register may also call the School of Music at 304-293-4532 or the Schools of Art and Design and Theatre and Dance at 304-293-4339.


CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts

– See more at:

College Information Night is Here!

Make sure to join us tonight at our annual Fine Arts College Information Night. Registration begins at 6:30 pm at Howard High School in Ellicott City, followed by a short plenary session at 7:00 pm before breaking out into panel discussions for music, theatre, visual art, and dance. At 8:30 pm, there will be an additional session open for financial aid and scholarship information. Our event is growing still, and we would love for you to experience everything College Night has to offer.

Study: Music Education Could Help Close The Achievement Gap Between Poor And Affluent Students

From an article published in the Huffington Post:


Closing the achievement gap between low-income and affluent students could be as simple as do-re-mi.

In a study out Tuesday from Northwestern University, researchers looked at the impact of music education on at-risk children’s nervous systems and found that music lessons could help them develop language and reading skills. The study is the first to document the influence of after-school music education on the brains of disadvantaged children, as opposed to affluent children receiving private lessons.

Researchers from the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern spent two summers with children in Los Angeles who were receiving music lessons throughHarmony Project, a non-profit organization providing free music education to low-income students. In order to document how music education changed children’s brains, students were hooked up to a neural probe that allowed researchers to see how children “distinguished similar speech sounds, a neural process that is linked to language and reading skills,” according to a press release.

photo 1

Photo of Harmony Project student, courtesy of Dr. Nina Kraus.

Students from the study, ages six to nine, were divided into two groups. The first group consisted of children who received two years of music education by the end of the study, while the second group of children had only received one year of lessons. This led researchers to discover that children’s brains only started to respond to the music education after two years of lessons. One year was not enough to have a definitive impact.

“We used a quick but powerful neural probe that allowed us to gauge speech processing with unprecedented precision. With it, we found that the brain changes only followed two years of music training,” Dr. Nina Kraus, director of Northwestern’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, said in a press release. “These findings are a testament that it’s a mistake to think of music education as a quick fix, but that if it’s an ongoing part of children’s education, making music can have a profound and lifelong impact on listening and learning.”

photo 2

Photo of Harmony Project students, courtesy of Dr. Nina Kraus.

Leaders at Harmony Project approached the researchers after the non-profit observed that their students were performing much better than other public school students in the area. Since 2008, over 90 percent of high school seniors who participated in Harmony Project’s free music lessons went on to college, even though the high school dropout rates in the surrounding Los Angeles areas can reach up to 50 percent, according to a Northwestern press release.

“Now we know this success is rooted, at least in part, in the unique brain changes imparted by making music,” Dr. Margaret Martin, founder of Harmony Project, said in the press release.

Kraus told The Huffington Post that the study could be a case for expanding music education in school.

“It would appear that music is an effective strategy for helping to close the achievement gap,” Kraus said. “What seems to be happening is that this experience of making music is helping to create a more efficient brain, a brain that is going to be able to help a person learn and communicate, especially through sound.”

The Harmony Project and the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory have teamed up before to study how music education impacts students’ grades. Researchers previously showed that after one year, second-grade students participating in Harmony Project maintained or improved their grades. This compares to peers from the same schools whose grades’ dipped after not participating in music lessons.

“Existing research indicates that kids from poor homes are not learning to read in the first four years of school –- while kids from middle-class and affluent homes are,” Martin previously told The Atlantic. “Given the importance of reading in achieving an education, this finding is stunning.”

How Music Education Improves Brain Development

Thank you, for this wonderful article and video:

It has been said many times that music does wonders for the health of the human brain. But where does it all come from?

How does music trigger such a positive effect on our brains? According to some of the world’s top neuroscientists, the brain reacts to music’s multi-sensorial experience in a unique way. Playing a musical instrument requires many different processes of your mind and on your body to work together. If you play the piano, for example, your hands will touch and feel the keys, you ‘ll think about the pressure you need to apply, you’ll educate yourself to tuning and pitch, you’ll learn the technique and you are developing muscle memory…all of these processes are handled and coordinated by the brain, which in turns, becomes a lot more elastic and flexible. Think of it as the ultimate brain train! If you want to hear more, check out this fantastic clip!

Got rhythm? Study ties ability to keep beat with language, reading skills

Rhythm may not come naturally to some people. A new study suggests those people might not be great talkers either.

Scientists studied a group of high school students,and found those who were better at keeping a beat musically had superior language skills compared to their more rhythmically-challenged classmates.

The scientists say this phenomenon reflects a link between the brain’s ability to encode auditory signals — or sounds — and other brain processes that control for movement, language and reading skills.

“Rhythm is an integral part of both music and language,” study author Nina Kraus, a neurobiologist and speech researcher at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., said in a statement. “And the rhythm of spoken language is a crucial cue to understanding.”

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