Elementary music ed gone if referendum fails

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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PING! urges Oak Park residents to think about the value of the performing arts to our children and our community as they decide their vote for the upcoming District 97 referendum.

The benefits of instrumental music education in the elementary grades are clear. Numerous studies show the link between studying music and academic achievement, demonstrated through improved reading, math and verbal abilities. Playing in a band or orchestra also teaches teamwork and discipline. Students feel part of a larger community by being in the band or orchestra, which can mean the difference between being happy in school or disengaging. District 97 has exceptional elementary and middle school music programs. The foundation that students receive prepares them in many ways and results in an appreciation of the arts that can last a lifetime.

PING! (Providing Instruments for the Next Generation) loans instruments to low-income students in our community so they have access to this exceptional opportunity. At PING! we see the transformative effect of music in these children's lives every day. One parent told us, "Music is giving my daughter more self-assurance and an identity." If the District 97 referendum does not pass, elementary instrumental music will be eliminated. Grade school children will be denied these experiences, and the middle school and high school music programs will deteriorate without the strong foundation provided in the elementary schools.

Oak Park has always understood the value of the arts in the life of an individual and our community. We have stood behind that belief in the school programming we fund. The PING! board urges everyone to continue to stand behind the arts and vote yes for the District 97 referendum on April 5.

Donna D'Oro Anderson, Brenda Barnes Jamieson, Elinor Crane, Jerre Cusick, Helen Gullo, Barbara Hickey, Pat Inman, Beth Isaacs, Carrie Kalina, Marge Michalski, Tuny Mokrauer, Darla Patterson, Susan Parks, Nadine Peacock,

Lynn Taylor and Judy Weik
Oak Park

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op parent  

Posted: March 15th, 2011 2:03 PM

If it hadn't been for instrumental music classes offered through school, I never would have had that opportunity. I think very fondly of my wonderful teacher. I have very little talent but appreciate his patience, dedication, and enthusiasm. Having this opportunity made me a better person in many ways and kept me enthusiastic about other areas of my schooling. I am grateful that my children have this opportunity and hope we can continue to offer this for years to come.

Long time resident from Oak Park  

Posted: March 15th, 2011 12:11 PM

The music program can continue if parents agree to pay user fees. Children often do not appreciate what they did not earn. Parents do not follow through if they are not paying for a service. My husband was a professional musician, the child of two professional musicians, and taught instrumental music himself in two city high schools. He strongly feels that public school instrumental lessons are inferior to private lessons. Parents need to let go of the hysteria and pay for lessons themselves.

Oak Park Resident  

Posted: March 9th, 2011 6:55 PM

I sincerely doubt the music program will dissolve but there may be some necessary cutbacks. Watching the amount of students who started but quickly dropped out of the program (care to share those figures?) I recall the instrument my daugher chose 7 other children also chose. By the end of the year, only two remained. The lone flute player had a private weekly lesson all year long. Cut backs!

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