By Guest Blogger Jennifer Alexandra Johnston

As everyone gets settled into their school routine this year, it is hard not to notice the effect budget cuts are having on art and music programs in the schools. As a parent, you may be wondering what effect this will have on your child and looking for ways to enrich your child’s educational and life experiences.

Art should not be optional. As a music educator, I know that music is for life. You are always growing, learning new things and gaining new experiences through music and other arts media. It has been proven that exposure to art and music at a young age stimulates intelligent thought, better discipline and builds a more well-rounded person. Music lessons — whether they are instrumental or voice — are exciting, educational and necessary to brain development — learning music engages both sides of the brain.

Students who receive music education have higher math and reading scores, higher SAT and standardized scores, higher GPAs and higher college admittance rates than students who do not. Here are a few facts:

– A study done by a University of California school showed that second graders who received music lessons scored 27 percent better on math tests dealing with proportions and fractions. Math and music have similarities in their structure, and young minds are wired to receive music and respond to it.

– Children exposed to a multi-year music program involving training in increasingly complex rhythmic, tonal and practical skills displayed superior cognitive performance in reading skills compared with their non-musically trained peers, according to a study published in the journal Psychology of Music.

– Music helps with the important skills of self-discipline and focus. It takes time, effort, attention and determination to learn how to play any instrument. Taking the time to perfect a piece of music and scheduling the time to do so is a great skill for later in life.

– Perhaps most importantly, music feeds your soul. Everyone knows that food and shelter are necessary to survival, but families who engage in music education understand that music is also necessary to overall health and well-being.

The Community Music School of the UNC School of the Arts is one of Winston-Salem’s “best-kept secrets” for child and adult music lessons. As an outreach program of UNCSA, we are in a safe, convenient, thriving downtown location on the third floor and fourth floors of the Roger L. Stevens Center. Many of our faculty are UNCSA graduates, and all of them are professional musicians within the Winston-Salem community with degrees from accredited musical institutions from around the world. We teach private lessons in all orchestral instruments: string, brass, woodwind and percussion, as well as piano, organ, voice, and guitar. Children can begin lessons as early as age 4 on some instruments, and we offer a senior discount to anyone over the age of 60. We also offer the Musikgarten curriculum for children from birth through age 5. This weekly class is designed to introduce music to young children, while also helping prepare them for private music lessons at a later age.

CMS is unique in that we offer multiple opportunities for performance — three informal Friday at Five recitals are held per semester, as well as annual studio recitals. Students may also audition for the annual Honors Recital every spring, and many teachers have students participate in the N.C. Music Teachers Association Contest-Festival and The National Federation of Music Club Festival. In 2011, three CMS students auditioned and were accepted into the School of Music at UNCSA.

We invite you to get to know Community Music School of the UNC School of the Arts. And please “like” our page on Facebook and Twitter @uncsacms.

We are now accepting students for enrollment in the fall semester. Mention you saw this post on Triad Moms on Main and get 50% off your first registration fee (a $15.00 value)!

Please contact us at:
Community Music School
Jennifer Alexandra Johnston, Director
Stevens Center, Third Floor
405 West Fourth Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
(336) 734-2950

Sponsored by the Community Music School of UNC School of the Arts