Music in our Schools Month
March is Music in our Schools Month, and the LaPorte Community School Corporation has an exceptional music program that deserves to be in the spotlight. The impact it has on students as well as the benefits it provides are undeniable.
Learning music can help with language development, spatial-temporal (problem solving) skills, and even improve intelligent thinking. According to PBS, studies have shown that children who participated in 15 months of weekly music education showed improvement in sound discrimination as well as fine motor tasks.
There are more options than ever before for Slicers who want to take music classes. With the classic performing ensembles like band, choir, and orchestra always available, LPHS also offers Music History & Appreciation, Music Theory & Composition, Jazz Improvisation, Piano and Electronic Keyboard, and Electronic Music.
“I think we offer a decent variety of music classes at this point. We have our performing ensembles (band/choir/orchestra), a dual-credit music history class, three semesters of music theory, Jazz Improvisation, piano class, and Electronic Music. We also recently started an independent study class where students can direct their own study of music in an area of interest where they can practice for college auditions, learn to compose music, or learn a new instrument, etc,” Joe Clark, Electronic Music teacher and band teacher, said.
Electronic music is a class at La Porte High School that is a perfect example of how diverse the music department is. The goal of the class is to introduce students to tools and programs that allow them to create their own music. It’s been an official class since the 2018-2019 school year.
Clark thinks that having classes like Electronic Music is important for attracting students to the music department considering that only around 300 to 400 students out of roughly 2,000 are enrolled in music ensemble classes.
“The Electronic Music class connects with students who might otherwise never take a music class in high school, aligning more closely with genres of music they’re familiar with and allowing them to create their own music immediately,” Clark said.
He has an enlightening perspective on why teaching music classes at the high school level is crucial.
“Music is a fundamental part of being human. Human societies have existed without literacy. Human society have existed without mathematics beyond simple arithmetic. All human societies have had music,” Clark said.
Music is a gift that everyone deserves to experience and have as a tool to express themselves. Middle school and high school are great environments to pick up and utilize these skills.
“I have met many adults who regret that they stopped learning music. I have never met an adult who regretted learning more about music. Now is the perfect time to try new things!” Clark said.
LPHS music classes aren’t only making an impact at school, but they’re also giving back to the community.
“Carter Jones, also known as CarterMetro, has taken the class [Electronic Music] twice and used the time to learn more about music mixing and production. He recently released an album with other LPHS students and has his music played during passing periods,” Clark said.
Matt Sullivan, the LPCSC K-12 Music Coordinator, has realized the importance of music classes through a historical lens.
“Our local community, in terms of music, only exists because we have music curricularly. We have the city band that, sure, started 100 years ago, but there was still music in schools a hundred years ago. We have a county symphony orchestra. Both of those things have players from the area, and those players learned how to play in our school system,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan believes that there’s many different things students can gain from participating in music education; it all just depends on the perspective.
“I think they [the students] would say it’s fun. I don’t know if that’s what I would say, but it’s definitely fun for the students. I would also add creativity to it. They can learn to be more creative, or if they don’t believe that’s possible, learn to tap into their own creativity and build something from nothing,” Sullivan said.
The future of the LPCSC music department is looking bright. Middle school and high school students are encouraged to take advantage of the many amazing music classes offered to them.
“I hope that we can reach more students. We’re encouraged by music happening everyday now in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, so hopefully those numbers continue to rise and we can come out of the awkward two years of covid to perform again and get back to normal,” Sullivan said.