Three Jackson Middle School students recently made a lifelong memory when they headed to Chicago as part of the national honor choir. The students were among the 300 selected out of a field of 800 applicants to sing in the choir and study at the American Choral Directors Association national conference.
In February several hundred piano, vocal and other instrumental students performed at the Junior Music Festival held at the Southeast Missouri State University River Campus. Many music teachers in the area spend countless hours preparing their students for this event where they perform and are evaluated by "judges." Based on their evaluation and future years' performances, the students earn trophies and some, nearing their high school graduation, a scholarship.
Earlier this week the Jackson High School Percussion Ensemble gave an entertaining performance as part of their seventh annual "A Night of Percussion" concert. Nearly 50 percussionists, ranging from seventh through 12th graders gave a performance highlighted with a light show. To see a clip from the performance, go to semissourian.com.
When talks arise of bettering education for students, invariably the topic narrows to subjects like math, science and reading. But also important to a well-rounded education is music. In fact, studies show that studying music benefits young children's learning. Other studies show that music instruction benefits students' math and science studies.
Congratulations to the Jackson singers, festival participants, percussion ensemble and the many other students who are excelling in music. These are opportunities that will have a significant impact on your lives, whether directly in music or in your general studies. Schools and parents should also consider what ways they can get their students and children more involved in music. The lifelong benefits are clear.