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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:

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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.

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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.”

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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, cmuse.org 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!

Middle School Arts Information Night

Please join us on Tuesday, November 5, 2013, 7-8:30 pm at Wilde Lake High School in Columbia for our second annual Middle School Fine Arts Information Night.  Not only will students and parents learn the means by which to keep fine arts courses on a high school schedule for four full years, but there will be student performances, presentations, and more.  Rumor has it that there will be quite a number of exciting door prizes from local vendors, too.

 

2013 Teen Opportunities Fair

Teen Opportunities Fair
Sat., Nov. 16, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
North Laurel Community Center, 9411 Whiskey Bottom Road, Laurel

This free event connects teens ages 11-17 with leadership, volunteer and recreational programs in Howard County. Attend powerful presentations, see dynamic demos, and learn about great things teens can do. Get connected to opportunities in academics, art, business, community, finance, government, job skills, leadership, music, nature and outdoors, sports and theater. Learn ways to build your résumé, develop leadership skills, or just have fun.  Student leaders from the Howard County Association of Student Councils (HCASC) will share school leadership opportunities.

Parents are also welcome. For more information, contact Holly Harden at 410-313-4625 or visit v4c.hcyouth.org/teenoppfair/.

If you attended our College Information Night, you may see some familiar faces at this event, too.

Middle School Fine Arts Information Night

Please remember to check out our page for this event, and join us on Thursday for what it sure to be a wonderful evening.

Middle School Fine Arts Information Night
Wilde Lake High School, 7-8:30 pm
February 7, 2013