Did you know 85 percent of Americans believe that participating in school music programs is linked to better performance in a school setting? While schools across the Unites States are cutting fine arts programs from their curriculums, Creekland Middle School is expanding their already advanced fine arts programs. Creekland Middle School hosts a variety of extracurricular classes that students are able to enroll in yearlong to advance their talents or blossom into competent performers. Students can choose to take orchestra, band, theatre, and art as “electives” with different levels to cater to differing abilities. In previous years, Creekland has been selected to perform for the Georgia Music Educator’s Association and has won the Sweepstakes Awards for the past 4 years at Southern Star Music Festival at which they were awarded the Grand Champion last year.
With many schools facing budget cuts and deciding to diminish their fine arts programs, I spoke with Ms. Michelle Ragen, an orchestra teacher and violist, to hear what she thought about the connection between fine arts and a student’s education. Ms. Ragen believes, “Students who perform in fine arts usually perform better in their academic classes._ Music is one of the few activities that requires students to use their right and left brain at the same time”._She finds music as a way for students to express themselves and challenge their minds. “For some students, music is a way to express their inner most emotions. Some students like the challenge of music while others find is a way to relax and decompress._ Most students enjoy the experience and comradery of creating music in a group setting.”
Students along with teachers see the benefits of taking a fine arts class. Katarina Blagojevic, a 6th grade band student at Creekland Middle school, says she loves that the effort you put into playing an instrument, results in your performance. “I really like band because we get to learn to play an instrument and I love the sound and the result we get at the end.” She says that it’s a beautiful noise and, “I love the challenge of playing an instrument and the feeling I get when I play it right.”