Do you believe in the transformative power of the arts?

Allie Meek-Carufel, educational programs director at NEMPAC, certainly does.

Meek-Carufel says, “Creating and engaging in art and music allows a student to become vulnerable, more in tune with their emotions and themselves, thus opening them up to becoming a well-rounded and empathetic person.”

Our distinguished team of 30-plus faculty members agrees. That’s why our faculty is so committed to educating and empowering the next generation of rising artists.

In recent years, we’ve diversified offerings in our music school to ensure youth in our community have the opportunity to participate in high-quality music education from infancy to teenhood. In fact, our curated curriculum features the latest innovations in music education to meet the youth in our community where they are on their artistic journeys and facilitate musical and personal growth.

As a result of our expanded echelon of music education for youth, we’ve created a student growth cycle that showcases how our music school propels youth forward at different developmental stages throughout their lives.

This week’s blog post highlights how our offerings inspire youth to find their voices in the classroom and in the community.

Family Music Makers (6 months to 3 years)

Family Music Makers is a course catered toward infants and toddlers. This group music instruction helps young children build their intellectual capacity and fine motor skills by memorizing the lyrics to songs and processing a diverse array of sounds. In addition, toddlers develop muscles in their arms and hands as they learn to properly play different instruments.

Intellectual and fine motor skills aren’t the only competencies grown at this developmental stage. Family Music Makers also provides an opportunity to forge deeper bonds with parents and grandparents who accompany their children and grandchildren to class each week. Students develop social skills too as they learn new words and phrases through song lyrics.

During this stage, students are encouraged to share their artistic gifts with their classmates and their community through performance. The process of putting oneself out there and taking the stage to perform builds confidence and self-efficacy.

Performances (as well as classroom curriculum and activities) emphasize collaboration, helping children to better understand the individual talents they bring to a group. This understanding fosters deeper self-awareness and propels young children forward on a path toward more collaboration both inside and outside the classroom.

Meet the Instruments and Mini Maestros (4 to 6 years)

This next programmatic phase empowers small children to further refine their intellectual and fine motor skills by practicing their hand to eye and ear coordination skills. As they learn musical compositions and count the number of beats and rests in a particular song, they also form the building blocks needed to excel in math and other quantitative subject areas.

Meek-Carufel says, “In Meet the Instruments and Mini Maestros, the fundamental skills of music are still being developed. Exploring individual instruments, kinesthetically playing them, finding beats, rhythms, and tones and working together as a group builds social skills.”

Group Instrument Classes (5 to 6 years)

This next developmental stage offers students the chance to explore the study of a musical instrument in a group. Throughout group music instruction, students learn ear training as they come to understand the intricacies of different rhythms and beats.

As students develop the self-trust to perform in front of their peers, they lay the groundwork for future performances in front of larger audiences.

Meek-Carufel reflects, “In group instrument classes, students learn the very basics of their instrument with other students at the same level and leave prepared to start learning the more individual techniques and music theory that a private lesson can give.”

Private Music Instruction (5-plus years)

The next stage includes private music instruction. This type of individualized, customized education from talented faculty empowers students to compose music and sight-read compositions.

Ensemble Programs (8-plus years)

Meek-Carufel says, “At NEMPAC, we are fortunate enough to have ensemble programs for students eight years and older. We offer band, choir and music ensemble programming both in-house and at our school partner sites. Once students enter private instruction, the lessons they learn and skills they develop catapult them to ensemble programs and allow them to thrive in that large group environment.”

As students hone their musicianship in ensemble programs, they come to realize how their particular instruments work in synergy with other families of instruments, such as brass, strings and woodwind. This understanding reinforces the notion that bands and choruses are similar to team sports in the sense that the collective sound is only as compelling as the musicians’ collective engagement.

In addition to teamwork, students enrolled in ensemble programs learn technical skills, such as score reading. These technical skills are supplemented with emotional and social competencies like discipline and focus.

As you can see, our community music school empowers students not only musically, but also personally.

Meek-Carufel explains, “The role of music education in a child’s development is to support the child as a whole person, not just as a musician. Music does not just teach fine motor skills, mathematical skills or language/communication skills. Though all of those technical skills are taught, music is also a form of expression and art. It is a way for students to express themselves in ways that they might not otherwise be able to. It is a form of catharsis, healing, and outlet.”