Arts Education

Q&A: Why Teaching Music Matters

Sep 15, 2014

I went to Los Angeles to report a story on brain science. A new study had just been released, exploring how music instruction helps kids process language. The children the researchers studied were all participants in a community music program run by the nonprofit Harmony Project.

Musical training doesn't just improve your ear for music — it also helps your ear for speech. That's the takeaway from an unusual new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers found that kids who took music lessons for two years didn't just get better at playing the trombone or violin; they found that playing music also helped kids' brains process language.

Duke Ellington didn't consider himself a jazz musician.

He said he was a musician who played jazz. And what a musician: pianist, bandleader, composer of more than 1,000 songs including standards like "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," "Satin Doll" and "Sophisticated Lady."

Tracey Maurer

A famous children’s book has been adapted to the local stage. I spoke to the Magik Theatre Artistic Director Dave Morgan, and I had to ask him, "So what the heck is a 'Skippyjon Jones?'"

“'Skippyjon Jones' is a cat that thinks its ears are too big for its head, so he wants to be a Chihuahua. And he loves Chihuahuas," Morgan said.

If you don’t know "Skippyjon Jones," it’s probably because like me, you don’t have young children. The books are wildly popular, and Morgan decided it needed to leap from the pages onto the Magik’s stage.

Stephanie Kocher

Having your children in band or orchestra can be expensive proposition, but as it turns out, not always. Youth Orchestras of San Antonio has a decades-long history in the Alamo City, but YOSA Más is still new, having been officially established in January, 2013. The word más in the title has a double meaning. Besides "more" YOSA Más also stands for YOSA, Music After School.

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