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Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Learning musical instrument is welcome

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
Jan. 29, 2014 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated Jan. 28, 2014 at 7:29 p.m.


Music is an important part of our lives. It can bring out our emotions, help us connect with others and improve our memories.

Students in the Victoria Independent School District have had the opportunity to make music for years. Music is a part of education from elementary school all the way to high school. In elementary school, all students spend time learning music. In middle school and high school, choir and band are electives students can choose to pursue.

VISD also has an orchestra program that currently has 134 students involved. This is the first year that the district is offering orchestra at the high school level, and we are glad to see the program is expanding. According to a statement from Kathy Murdock, VISD orchestra director and facilitator, in a previous article, the district chose to grow the program from the bottom up, which means the district began with younger students and expanded to include higher grade levels as the students involved in the program moved up. This was a smart approach that allows the district to gradually grow the program based on the number of students who choose to take part.

Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, was quoted in an article on PBS.org as saying training in music can help improve a child's language development, spatial-temporal skills, cognitive development and more. Many other studies over the years, including the "Mozart Effect" study at the University of California and those by the University of Virginia, Northwestern University and more point to the positive effects of music education in learning.

We are glad to see VISD is offering more options for students who are interested in learning to play orchestral music and growing a program that can help improve the learning of students across the district. We hope this support will continue to grow both within and outside of the district.

Debbie Durham, the Victoria Symphony's education coordinator, said in a previous article that she hopes to see Victoria students become members of the symphony orchestra. Why wait? Perhaps it's time for the Victoria Symphony to work with VISD to help encourage students in the orchestra program. This would be a wonderful opportunity to show students the possibilities if they continue to work hard.

We are glad to see VISD continues to offer a range of options for students of all ages. Thank you for promoting these skills and for continuing to support the arts.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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