The Halls are Alive with the Sound of Music for 25 lucky NYC schools
It was back to school for most New York City children on September 8th but something was missing in many of these classrooms. What is it you ask?…the sound of music. In fact, over half of New York City elementary and middle schools do not have a full-time certified music teacher on staff¹. Given the recent economic downturn, commitment to music education has waned even more. Strong research clearly indicates time and time again that children learn better when music is part of their school instruction. So why has music been cut from our children's schools? While some children from high income areas are fortunate enough to receive music education in light of these economically trying times, children from the inner-city schools are often hit the hardest and deprived of a well-rounded education.
Education Through Music (ETM®) strives to fill in the gap. ETM is a non-for-profit, 501c3 organization formed in 1991 to promote the use of music in inner-city and disadvantaged schools, as a means of enhancing students' academic performance and general development. ETM's programs treat music not only as a core discipline but also as a means to equip students with the knowledge and cognitive skills that they need to become effective learners! Improved test performance scores with children in ETM's partner schools in Math and English Language Arts is associated with ETM's program participation at the school level².
ETM partnered with 25 schools, serving 13,000 children every week for the 2010-11 school year, providing music instruction for every child at the school with its comprehensive and sequential program. ETM serves grades PreK through eight with core general music programs, as well as band, orchestra and enrichment opportunities. This past week, ETM's Music Teachers took part in comprehensive training offered by program staff to prepare them for the coming year. And ETM's support doesn't stop there, a field supervisor will be traveling to the partner schools to provide each of the teachers with the tools and support they need to be the best music teachers they can be. In addition, all teachers receive ongoing training and guidance throughout the school year.
Not long after music programs were cut significantly from New York schools decades ago, ETM saw a need and developed a sustainable model that works. In fact, organizations in other cities, including Los Angeles and the Bay Area, have adopted ETM's model because it is so successful! Now approaching its twentieth anniversary, ETM continues to see the need for music programs as NYC schools grow. "For nearly 20 years, ETM has been built upon a high level of standards to which we uphold for all of our programs", says Executive Director, Katherine Damkohler. "One of the ways we attain this is by working closely with principles to foster community and school involvement. We have developed assessments for all of our teachers and students, in addition to providing a comprehensive and quality music program that we believe should be a part of every child's well-rounded education." The organization's staying power is evident as they continue to launch new programs, take on new partner schools and contribute to NYC's children…ETM looks forward to a vibrant future.
To learn more about Education Through Music and the programs they offer, visit www.ETMonline.org or contact them at 212-972-4788.
¹ New York City Department of Education's "2008-09" Annual Arts in Schools Report
² In 2005, ETM was selected as one of 14 recipients nationwide of the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Grant Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The award supported a multi-year external evaluation (2005-08) of ETM's work in public elementary schools. The results of the evaluation were presented in April 2009 and are available at www.ETMonline.org/evaluation.