Friday, September 23, 2011

The benefits to your child of learning to play music...

Article rank

22 Sep 2011

Philadelphia Daily News

Page 43.

The benefits to your child of learning to play music

A humorous arts advocacy flyer from years ago commanded, “Expose yourself to art.” Its photograph showed from behind a bare-l egged museum visitor with his arms spread and trench coat flung open to Rodin’s “The Thinker.”

It’s good advice, especially f or children. The findings of many studies have reported links between children engaging in art — e. g., taking music lessons — and intellectual and emotional achievement.

In fact, one study reported that high school music students averaged 38 points higher i n verbal and 21 points higher i n math on the SAT. And a Rockefeller Foundation study found that undergraduate music majors have the highest rate of admission to medical school.

Those are some impressive young-adult accomplishments f or a weekly hour or so of tickling the ivories, bowing a fiddle, pounding the hides or blowing a horn as a child. Learning to play a musical instrument can confer upon your youngster advantages at school and with self-confidence, teamwork and physical development.


Several studies have pointed to a link between children’s success i n school and l earning to play music. Piano lessons, f or example, help children sharpen their natural l earning processes. Because music is a language with individual elements sequencing and accruing into broader meaning, l earning to play an instrument can help your child develop skills needed to master language arts. Studies have shown that musical training physically develops the part of the brain known to be involved with processing language.

In addition, the bi-dexterity and multiple senses required to play a musical instrument engages both right and left brain interplay that stimulates neural development i n your child.

Learning music teaches children how to stay focused and to set and achieve goals. When l earning to play a piece, your child sets specific goals and then works to fulfill them. Each new piece of music demands a specific set of skills and playing habits. When interpreting music, your child studies each note while anticipating the score’s next few bars. This employed critical thinking and creativity can be transferred to other academic and life pursuits.

Self confidence

Learning to play an instrument allows your child to encounter and overcome challenge. By mastering an instrument with which your child was initially awkward and creating music, he experiences the elation of accomplishment. Self-confidence rises along with the belief that obstacles, with persistence and through incremental, small steps, can be surmounted ( a critical life lesson).

Self-confidence also comes from preparation, performance in front of an audience and pressure. Weekly lessons instill the idea of persistence and improvement. Dealing with the anxiety of completing a piece f or an audience teaches your child how to handle the stress of expectation ( and remain creative under pressure). Music performance teaches your child to conquer f ear and take risks.

Teamwork and craftsmanship starting with an engaging instructor, your child learns to collaborate. If he joins the school’s orchestra or even a neighborhood garage band, your child will start to l earn how to pool resources with others and cooperate toward a common goal. Developing this soft skill for teamwork is essential to just about every professional pursuit. Another essential soft skill your child develops when l earning to play an instrument is craftsmanship. Studying notes, assembling them into a whole, and recognizing the difference between good and mediocre output instills in your child a sense of discipline, an inclination to excel and the capability to extend creativity. By learning to play music, your child l earns the value of perseverance to achieve excellence and attains the concrete rewards of concentrated effort.

Fine motor skills because l earning to play music is an action to do and not an event to watch, your child should develop enhanced fine motor skills. On a purely physical level, your child can l earn to fine tune the use of his hands and other body parts through music lessons. Employing the physical and mental dexterity required to master an instrument, your child will develop essential coordination f or adulthood.

Research an in-depth Harvard University study i n 1993 found evidence that spatial-temporal reasoning improves when children l earn to make music. Although controversial still, this Mozart effect has motivated plenty of parents to expose their very young children to music.

A small 2006 Canadian study from Mcmaster University reported that music lessons can help children as young as four demonstrate advanced brain development and improve their memory. The study’s lead, Laurel Trainor, said, " Our study and other studies show that music has benefits … f or cognitive processing and cognitive development."

By exposing your child to music lessons, you can help him work toward mastering higher academic achievement, self-confidence, teamwork and discipline. Along the way, you might even get serenaded with “Fur Elise” and “Free Bird.”

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hand Built Pottery with Kim Gavin!!

Wednesdays 4:30-5:30

Ages 8-13

Cost: $175

10 weeks starting September 28th - November 30th

Instructor: Kim Gavin

This class is designed for students just beginning in clay or those with experience. The techniques taught will use only your hands and some simple tools. Students will create three projects over a ten-week psyched course: a tile/trivet, a teapot (based on an Asian Style) and a hollow animal-shaped whistle. All pieces will be fired and glazed at the Ceramic Shop.

Art history will be used as a foundation and inspiration for all projects.

Families (adults with younger children are also encouraged to attend) Welcome!

This is taught by Kimberly Gavin, certified teacher in the Philadelphia School District and nominee for the 2011 Philadelphia Teacher of the Year Award. Ms. Gavin has received her MA in Art Education with an Emphasis in Special Populations at Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia, and has a BFA from Parsons School of Design in NY. Ms Gavin works with students of all ages and abilities and believes that everyone can create something wonderful and unique.

4th LAAF Review!

"Artistic emotions flow together in an ocean of imagination"

This is the message painted on the mural which represents this wonderful creation.

What a monumental day for the Portside Arts Center and the community. The 4th Annual Lehigh Avenue Arts Festival was a great success with over 40 artisan vendors, 10 children activities, 11 live local bands and of course, the moon bounce, it was the largest LAAF the neighborhood ever experienced! The Portside had lots of volunteers of all ages helping with the festival and everyone had a fantastic time. Kim Creighton, Director and Jenna Wilchinsky, Assistant Director said they could not have pulled off the festival without their help and constant volunteerism! Jane Golden was there from the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program with an inspiring speech for the mural dedication ceremony and encouraging words for the Portside. Now on the bottom left hand corner of the beautiful tropical fish educational mural states the names of all the artists and the Portside Community who helped with the creation of this magnificent public work of art. Also Cesar Viveros mural artist and Jonny Buss, mosaic artist talked about their inspiration and creation of the mural during the dedication. With tears in her eyes Creighton expressed her gratitude towards the community and the Mural Arts program, Artists and Jane Golden for bringing this mural project to the Portside. This mural is the first of its kind to exist in the Port Richmond area comprised of paint, glass mosaic and metal work making it a mixed media masterpiece. Following the dedication several of the Portside students from the music program showed off their talents on the stage for all to enjoy. The music teachers followed with a violin solo by Elizabeth Zook and Chris Johnson and Tyrel McCoy showed off their drumming talents with some shredding. Jamie McMahon owner of the Green Rock Tavern organized the live music bringing together local bands who also donated their time for this annual fundraiser for the Portside Scholarship Fund for families of limited resources. Creighton said they received a great outpouring of generosity from local community businesses and community members with donations for our Chinese lottery and also with monetary sponsorships. What a great day said Creighton to see the community come out in such a force to support their local arts center. Thank you!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Face Painting Party!

Every year before the Lehigh Avenue Arts Festival we have guest teacher Corina hold a special face painting class! Check out this years talent!

KiDD-OFFKA Portside's Summer Camp Art Show!!

Portside Arts Center's campers had there final art showing this past First Friday September 2nd at VWVOFFKA gallery on Frankford Ave. They received a huge response from there community and the show had a great turn out. During the show every one was invited to participate in the interactive dart & paint balloon art project. It made one big awesome mess of a work of art and every one had a blast trying to pop the balloons! All 40 of the campers work was on display so check out the pictures from the showing below!

Oh My Goodness! LOOK AT OUR MURAL!

Jonny Buss and Mike Smash have been working very hard to install all of the mosaic pieces they've created to be placed in the mural! Check out them installing the biggest and brightest piece the octopus!