Music in our Schools Takes over March

Cello player Julie Holzen, junior, lives for music. It’s her passion, her dream, her nature.

“From an emotional standpoint it’s a huge part of who I am, in my personality and how I spend my time,” Holzen said.

Holzen isn’t the only one who loves music. Across Rockwood, many other students indulge in music as a passion. For this reason, during the month of March, Rockwood celebrates music in schools.

According to the National Association for Music Education, the purpose of Music in our Schools Month (MIOSM) is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children and to support the idea of all students having access to music at school. It is an opportunity for music teachers to display the benefits the school music programs bring.

Starting as a single statewide day in 1973, celebrating music has grown to be a month-long activity.

Mark McHale, curriculum content facilitator of fine arts, said in Rockwood, MIOSM concerts occur in March as well as October.

“The MIOSM concert in Rockwood has been a means to showcase the music curriculum from a vertical lens, meaning that student groups from each level, elementary, middle and high school perform for each other in the same concert,” McHale said.

He said students get the opportunity to reflect on how the music program has affected them.

In addition to concerts, McHale said Rockwood has State Large Ensemble Festival where many secondary school music programs perform in front of a panel of judges for evaluation. Similarly, at Solo and Ensemble Festival, students are able to showcase their abilities in front of a judge who is a professional musician and educator.

“I think that music in our schools was actually started as a promotion from the National Association for Music Education,” James Nacy, orchestra teacher said.

He said many people still think of music as just an extracurricular activity, and that it doesn’t relate to a person’s education. Studies have shown there to be a direct correlation between music and a further developed brain.

“A lot of people at Marquette do sports, but I think even more people are involved in choir, band and orchestra, so I think that it’s really good to celebrate something that’s done by a lot of people at Marquette, rather than just sports, that people know about,” cello player Eric Cho, junior, said.

Trumpet and cymbals player Ericka Moehlenkamp, sophomore, said music has opened her up to so many new opportunities and friends. It has always been something she could turn to in a time of frustration.

“I think music and the arts in general just need more recognition,” Moehlenkamp said.

She said it’s important that students receive the ability to express themselves in a genre away from academics.

Principal Dr. Greg Mathison also connects personally with music through his children in the music program and his musical background from his childhood.

“Music to me means relaxation and getting your mind right and allowing me to focus on whatever I am doing,” Dr. Mathison said.