Celebrating Our Student Musicians … And Why Music Education Is So Important

Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them—a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music.
—President Gerald Ford

We have some really talented musicians in our district.

The Vermont MIDI Project, an organization in which professional composers support student music composition by mentoring students online, has selected Colchester High School’s Jacob Morton-Black’s composition for brass quintet to be performed at the Opus 23 Concert at St. Michael’s College on Monday, December 5 at 6:30 p.m. The (free!) concert will be held at the Elley-Long Music Center, which is home to the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association. Jacob’s composition will be played by professional musicians, as will be the works of the other handful of students from all across Vermont selected for this incredible composition opportunity.

Jacob, who is also one of only two students to have another of his pieces selected for performance by the Vermont Youth Orchestra for this year’s First Night Burlington event, has played French horn for four years and trumpet for seven years. He hopes to study music composition in college.

Additionally, after auditioning in early October at Winooski High School, Jacob and seven other CHS band students performed in the Champlain Valley District Music Festival (organized by the Vermont Music Educators Association) on November 11 & 12 at Essex High School. The concert, which was conducted by UMASS Amherst’s James Patrick Miller, consisted of the best musicians in the region, and the other participating Colchester students included Emily Berry, Ethan Miller, Justin Miller, Dylan Norcross, Lucie Stein, Matt Waters, and Lauren Zwonik.

Because of the vast and growing number of documented benefits associated with it, music education’s well-deserved support in schools continues to increase. Seemingly countless studies have credited music education programs with contributing to enhanced standardized testing scores across an array of subject areas. It has also been credited with decreasing disruptive behaviors; increasing focus, abstract reasoning, and spatial-temporal skills; improving self-discipline, cognitive development, and communication skills, and enhancing students’ creativity and intellectual curiosity. Music participants have also been found to receive more academic honors and awards than non-music students. And that just scratches the surface of what current research indicates are some of the benefits of music education. It truly is a worthy pursuit, and we are proud of the exceptional talent found right here at CSD.

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