Music education is superfood for the brain, enhancing brain development, focus, and decision-making. Students, even at early grade levels, also benefit from social awareness and the enhanced listening and motor skills developed by participating in group music learning.
Donations to PiE help fund excellence in education through K-12 music instruction at every school in the district.
The Early Grades:
Developing Musical Pathways and Introducing Instruments
“We teach kids from the inside out—first to feel music, then to hear it, and ultimately to understand it.”
– Nancy Coffey, PAUSD Music Coordinator
Teacher Tracey Mumford with 4th graders
In the early grades, music education lays a foundation for deep, understanding of music. For K-3 classes, a PiE grant recently funded instruments used to develop cross-curricular lessons for the music classroom, integrating music, math, and science. These instruments are shared among all 12 of the elementary schools, so that all our kids have a chance to participate.
4th and 5th grade music programs take the students to the next level, as they adopt instruments and emphasize working together as a group. Throughout the grades, Palo Alto students extend their global learning through song and musical styles from other countries and cultures, as a way to celebrate differences and the shared human experience.
Middle School: Finding a Place, Finding a Passion
Middle school music is not about aptitude, but rather about moving beyond instant gratification to the intrinsic reward that comes after seeing the results of prolonged effort.
Angelina Fitzhugh and the JLS Choir
Entering 6th grade, students participate in choir, band, or orchestra, where they develop the skills of perseverance and collaboration. They are immediately part of a music community, which brings a sense of connection as students learn to navigate the larger school.
In 7th and 8th grade, students may choose their elective in band, choir, and orchestra classes, where they learn to work together for a common goal, as well as find room for self-expression. As students find their place and find their musical passion, they further strengthen their connection to their music “family” that will continue through their high school years.
High School: Individual Skill, Group Performance
The musical understanding that was developed in the early elementary years sets the stage for opportunities to focus on individual skill development within the context of the large ensemble. Coffey notes, “we make sure that our kids understand what they are doing and why they are doing it so they continue to feel motivated to improve.” Students at Gunn and Paly develop musical independence, while learning to bring their skill to a larger group with a common goal.
Sandra Lewis and the Gunn HS Orchestra
For a special holiday treat of tea and music, reserve your spot for Paly’s Madrigal Feaste.
Music education is essential to excellent education, and made possible by your PiE donations.
Thank You for Supporting PiE