In our 10th anniversary year, Education Through Music-Los Angeles was able to reach over 10,000 students with weekly, yearlong music education as part of the core curriculum. The music programs at our Los Angeles partner schools this school year generated positive outcomes for children and school communities.
Now entering the 9th grade, Sunny was just a 2nd grader when we first met her at our Partner School, Castelar Elementary. We recently caught up with Sunny as an alumna of our programs, and are excited to share through hers and her Grandma’s eyes how music has changed her life.
Her Grandma’s initial reaction to Sunny’s interest in playing an instrument six years ago was – “tremendously shocked.” There was musical history within the family. However, it had not been handed down to Sunny, or so they thought. Sunny’s first interest came when she was introduced to the violin. She quickly excelled with her raw talent, hard work and guidance. “Sunny improved not only in her grades but as well in her ability to communicate. With her ability to be able to play music she began to improve on her speaking grammatically correct, an improvement in listening, and being able to have more focus when it came to class and homework.” In addition, Sunny’s Grandma stated that she “advanced to the top through music.” She is able to feel “capable” of handling any challenge that is thrown at her.
From her own words, Sunny articulates, “Playing the violin has opened up new horizons for me and given me the opportunity to meet and experience many different cultures from all backgrounds. One thing that I really love about playing the violin is how students unite together through the sound of music. When I am missing my parents I turn to music and prayer. I truly feel that music is the bridge to stop war and hate among all people and bring peace and joy to the world.” “Music is healing,” says Sunny’s Grandma, “and brings people together, unites them, and forms a sense of connectedness.”
We are thrilled Sunny has been accepted to a top arts magnet high school in Los Angeles, and will continue to pursue her dream of being a lawyer and violinist!
Furthermore, school communities have responded to the impact of music education: Parents, teachers, and principals observed that music contributed to overall improvements in students’ ability to think outside the box, stay motivated in school, self-confidence and self-esteem, and ability to pay attention and focus (Community Partnership Survey 2016). When asked on a survey, “Do you think music education is important for the school and community?” -100% of surveyed parents replied, “Yes.”
We could not do this without the dedication of our partners, parents, guardians, and stakeholders. Because of this support, we are able to create lasting change and impact for students like Sunny so they may have equal opportunities for a successful future.