"If music be the food of love, play on." Shakespeare's timeless opening words from his play Twelfth Night are just as true today as when they were written in the early 17th century. Music gives my students a chance to escape the grind of their day and helps them find a common ground with others.
My students today face more non-academic obstacles in their educational journey than ever before.
Our school demographic is definitely a melting pot: 56% White, 27% Hispanic or Latino, 9% Asian, 3% Black or African American, and 3% Filipino. Ten percent of our students are English learners, 13% are students with disabilities, and over a third are socio-economically disadvantaged.
My students are learning that difficulties in life aren't roadblocks--they are obstacles, meant to be overcome!
It's an endless list of supplies... pencil, rosin, strings, cleaning cloth, sheet music, a folder, perhaps a stand light. Sadly, mostly due to costs, some of the important accessories, like a shoulder rest for violin and viola players, get overlooked and pushed to the side and forgotten, written off as an unnecessary expenditure.
Proper head/spine alignment is important for the physical health of the player, as well as producing a good tone.
Without a shoulder rest, the player has to either hold the instrument with their hand, which means they can't have a relaxed hand and arm, or they have to hold the instrument awkwardly with their head and neck, which means prolonged stress on the neck, which can result in physical maladies for the rest of a player's life.
Repetitive stress injuries plague musicians frequently, taking some of the joy of playing away. Lessening the physical stress on a musician's body means a lifelong love of music instead of trips to the doctor!
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