Strengthening the field of music education
Music education changes lives. From our VocalEssence ¡Cantaré! program to VocalEssence WITNESS, we are dedicated to keeping singing in our schools. We recognize emerging high school talent through our apprentice programs. We raise up talented choir leaders as models in our school communities by awarding them for groundbreaking work. And, our board of directors has defined it as a priority for VocalEssence in our strategic plan: Strengthening the field of music education.
There is a troubling decline in singing opportunities for children in Minnesota. From 2000-2010, music education specialists in Minnesota public schools have been cut by 28%, which has resulted in:
- Substantial reduction in elementary choir and general music programs
- Decreased contact time for music classes (once every five to six days) and/or doubled-up classes.
- Music programs increasingly only available for more affluent students
- Further compounding the music education climate, 37% of Minnesota’s public school students live at or near poverty. These students and families typically aren’t able to participate in after-school activities including choirs, lessons and other music opportunities. In spite of these sobering statistics, we have rich empirical evidence of the impact of choral singing on student achievement rates, and its ability to build characteristics that make them remarkably good citizens.
- Arts education prepares students for success in school and in life.
- Singing together is an integral part of arts education.
- Singing together builds community.