Pikesville students promote music edcuationMonday, February 13, 2012 By Jenn Murphy
Music education in schools is quickly becoming a dying art. As performance ensembles grow smaller, the interest of prospective students shrinks. In order to reverse this sad truth, students who have had beneficial experiences within the music community need to show prospective musicians that an education in music is definitely worthwhile. This is exactly what the PHS Tri-M Music Honor Society hoped to do with their “Instrument Petting Zoo” at Fort Garrison Elementary. The Tri-M Music Honor Society visited Fort Garrison on January 26 to teach students in grades two, three and four about the opportunities available to them if they choose to pursue music throughout their time in school. The event provided Ft. Garrison students with a chance to learn more about the instruments they will be able to choose from later. Tri-M Co-President Ruth Hirsch (’12) helped to organize the event, which featured several parts geared to show students all aspects of a musical education. “We had a short performance by members of Tri-M and then everyone spoke a little about themselves and how they make music,” Ruth said. “We then gave the elementary students an opportunity to try out various instruments.” Ruth believes that it is important to interest students in music at a young age. “It’s important to get kids interested early so they’ll become more enthusiastic as they age. When you start at a young age, you get more opportunities to grow,” Ruth said. Mrs. Connie Clarke, music teacher at Fort Garrison, echoes Ruth’s statements. “Music is such a big part of my own life that I want children to have the same joy that it has given me,” Clarke said. “Music is my voice to the world.” Third grade student Jessica Millman enjoyed learning about the different instruments available while at the Instrument Petting Zoo. “I would recommend this event because it was cool having teenagers teaching us. I learned many new things about music,” Jessica said. “I liked this experience a lot and wish it would happen more often.” Based on that cheery reaction, it appears that the event was a success. Elizabeth Lavin (’13), Co-President of Tri-M, agrees. “We had excited high school students and curious elementary school students participating,” Elizabeth said. “Everyone was happy to be there.” Elizabeth recalled a specific moment that showed the connection the Ft. Garrison students were developing with the music. “I remember hearing the PHS singers perform “Seasons of Love” from the musical “Rent,” and seeing all of the kids in the audience snapping, clapping and bobbing their heads as the singers performed,” Elizabeth said. Overall the event showcased the need for music education in schools, an education that can help students in other areas of life. “Music has made me focus, organize, and expand my mind in ways that other subjects did not,” Clarke said. “I simply cannot imagine living in a world that does not value and nurture the musical mind.” Elizabeth hopes to bring the Petting Zoo event back to Ft. Garrison next year, as well as expand to other schools in the area. “We’ve been invited back to Ft. Garrison, and we’re already talking about planning a similar event for other schools,” Elizabeth said. “Seeing the high school students and the elementary school students interact showed how dedicated the Tri-M members really are.