The Yadkin Arts Council received a $25,000 North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Ribbon of Hope grant to restore instrumental music at all Yadkin County elementary schools starting immediately.
All kindergarten through sixth-grade students will now have the opportunity to create music and explore tonality and sound through the use of specially designed and multi-age adaptable instruments of the Orff-Schulwerk method.
The NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation grant will enable the Arts Council, in collaboration with the Yadkin County Elementary School District, to expand what was a pilot project in one school to all eight schools. The program fulfills a need for elementary instrumental education, which was eliminated through state and local budget cuts.
The Yadkin Arts Council and the Yadkin County School District are grateful to the NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation for recognizing the educational value of instrumental music which has been proven to increase academic and cognitive learning, improve physical motor skills, afford healthy social interaction among students and build leadership and organizational ability.
“We are excited to provide support for education in Yadkin County,” said Marilyn Foote-Hudson, executive director for the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation.
Anna Peterson, lead teacher for the Orff- Schulwerk method, explained, “Creating music gives students an outlet to express themselves and builds their confidence in their creativity. Skills like teamwork and cooperation, gained from playing in an ensemble, will benefit students in the future, no matter where life takes them.”
Dr. Todd Martin, superintendent of Yadkin County Schools, said, “I am excited to see the investment that the NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation and the Yadkin Arts Council are making in our school music program. We have worked for several years with limited budgets to provide students with the materials they need to experience creating music. This grant will provide all students the ability to use the full range of Orff instruments and to know what it is to be an active participant in the creation of music.”
The Orff-Shulwerk method makes children comfortable with sound and rhythm and a variety of physical movements, and the exploration of hand-held percussion and smaller instruments. The components of exploration, imitation, improvisation and creation will continue to build in the following years. Children create musical pieces individually and in groups. Creating and improvising provide opportunities for developing leadership and critical thinking.