Teachers Share Value of Music Education through EXTRA CREDIT Concert

On October 4, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra will celebrate the contributions of music educators in a special free concert at Powell Hall. In this EXTRA CREDIT concert, music educators from the St. Louis region, across the state, and as far away as Tulsa, Oklahoma, will share stands with SLSO musicians in a side-by-side performance of works by Smetana, Ravel, Borodin, and Shostakovich.


The first EXTRA CREDIT concert took place in 2017, with music educators performing side by side with musicians of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. The second EXTRA CREDIT concert will be Friday, October 4.

This concert is free, but RSVPs are encouraged by visiting here.


For many people, a lifelong love of music begins in the classroom, where music educators share with students the many benefits of music. On the front lines of connecting the SLSO to the community, educators see the value of music first hand.


In applying for EXTRA CREDIT, educators shared what value they believe the study of music in school provides to their students. Here’s what some of them said:


Lucy Arbini, Orchestra Teacher, Parkway South High School, Manchester, Mo., Violin

“In my orchestra classroom, I see that orchestra has become a family for my students. Since many of my students come from limited emotional, social, and financial means, having a safe, family-like environment in school is incredibly important. Orchestra involvement has helped open my students up to other cultures of the world through the exploration of the music of different time periods, genres, and countries.”


Kyle Alexander, Orchestra Director, Rockwood South Middle School, Fenton, Mo., Cello

“I believe that the students who choose to study music in our schools are developing a greater sense of what it means to be creative. So often, the value of creativity can be overlooked or pushed aside, but through constant exposure to different musical ideas, our students are finding vital ways to use their creative capacities.”


Eric Blankenship, Director of Bands, Troy Buchanan High School, Troy, Mo., Trombone

“I believe that music and the arts are an essential part to any student’s education. We, as a society, are often so worried about student’s math and science skills that we forget the importance of a culturally enriched education. I hope that through music my students are more aware of the world around them.”


Amanda Davis, Orchestra Director, University City High School, University City, Mo., Cello

“Music helps with multiple levels of education such as math, history, reading, problem-solving skills, higher-order thinking, rigor, peer teamwork, and character education. All of the skills that students develop in music makes them life-long learners and independent thinkers, which helps them to succeed beyond the classroom.”


Dawn Evans, Music Teacher, Lone Dell Elementary School, Arnold, Mo., Bassoon

“My students learn that things are hard when you first start learning them. But with time, repetition, and experience, things become easier. My students learn to work hard and take pride in their work. Most importantly, my students learn that musicians make mistakes every day. They learn that failure is temporary if they will continue to work and improve.”


Christopher Livesay, Orchestra Teacher, Green Pines Elementary School, Wildwood, Mo., Double Bass

“I am the product of a public school music program, and I am a direct result of its importance. I do not come from a musical family and had no resources or awareness that learning an instrument was an option until taking part in a compulsory 5th grade music program in my home town. Music has taken me a lot of places and I hope to give my students some of the same opportunities.”


Todd Oberlin, Choir Director, McCluer North High School, Florissant, Mo., Timpani

“Multiple studies over many years have proven the academic value of learning music, but there is more to it than the cognitive value. Music requires the performer to work with others from varied backgrounds and cultures to achieve one goal, the uplifting of the human spirit through music!”


Sally Pierce, Orchestra Teacher, Alton Middle School, Alton, Ill., Viola

“For many of my students, Orchestra is their favorite class, where they feel at home and with friends. The orchestra family we have gives kids a place to belong. I have high school and even graduated students come back to help with classes and play at concerts. The love of music they are infused with in elementary and middle school stays with them even when they don't keep playing.”


Joshua Politte, Band Director, Kelly A. Burlison Middle School, Fredericktown, Mo., Percussion

“Music is a human right and provides students with self-actualization. I firmly believe that music has a positive impact on our communities by created hard working, empathetic, functioning members of society.”


Sydney Reynolds, Music Director, Brussels CUSD 42, Brussels, Ill., Horn

“After finishing my second full year both here and in teaching I can say that the study of music has a huge impact on the entire school community. Students who have felt left out in their regular classrooms have found solace in mine. Young students facing indescribable hardships at home look forward to singing with their friends. Kids that were shy last year have flourished and found their confidence this year. And I think it’s only going to get better the longer music is here.”

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