DALLAS, Texas — The arts may not get a lot of attention in some schools, but some professional musicians in North Texas are trying to make sure kids have the chance to find a love of music.
Members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra spent the past three weeks at the Trinity Basin Preparatory Ledbetter campus offering free music classes to first through eighth grade students in the South Dallas area. The yearly camp, called the Kim Noltemy Young Musicians Program, provides the instruments, music and instruction for any students who wish to attend.
Symphony flutist and piccolo player Ashley Alarcon was one of several artists teaching the kids. She said a reason the program was started because many schools in South Dallas offer little to no music education during the school year. It’s an issue in education throughout the country. Arts-based programs have been cut or scaled-back over the years in favor of giving more resources to traditional academics, or due to budget cuts. However, many experts point to the benefits of arts classes, and leaders at the camp said that’s what they hope to help more kids in the area benefit from.
“We all work together. They learn the different sounds of the instruments and learn to be independent,” said Alarcon. “While also collaborating with their colleagues as a full orchestra.”
Leaders at Trinity Basin Prep said they were eager to host the program, and have seen the positive results of music education. Laura Rios, an administrator at the school and a mom whose student took part in a past event, said it’s exciting to see the kids learn and develop an early passion for music. She said there are several benefits of music education and it’s something they want to provide for the students.
“Music activates both the right and left side of the brain, which maximizes learning and also improves students’ memories,” said Rios.
As students at the camp practiced for their end of event concert, many expressed a newfound love for playing and an eagerness to pursue music in the future — even if it means finding a program outside of school.