Lower School News
Every year, Graded music teachers record an audition with our students to send to the Association for Music in International Schools (AMIS). AMIS selects the best auditions and invites those students to be part of an amazing orchestra comprised of the best musicians from international schools worldwide.
This year, I accompanied seventh grader Guido S. to the AMIS Honor Orchestra Festival at the International School of Madrid.
Guido was the first chair at this event. The first chair is the leader of the first violin section and the second-most significant leader in an orchestra, after the conductor.
I have attended the AMIS festivals for 13 years, but this year I noticed something. During the orchestra’s rehearsals and breaks, I realized that all students there had the exact same personal characteristics: They were extremely focused, disciplined, well-behaved, hard-working, kind, and respectful.
This special group of kids showed me in real time the benefits of learning a musical instrument. Everything I’d read in scientific articles throughout my life materialized in front of me at that moment.
Certainly, this group does not represent all music students, as these were each the best from their own schools. However, they represent where the learning of a musical instrument can take a student.
Making music is a collective experience, and without personal skills like respect for others, kindness, organization, and teamwork, there is no music.
We are all spending more time on our devices, and scientific research shows that this is affecting the development of our brains. It pleased me to see kids who will not have this problem. Those kids were able to resist to all distractions and spent hours and hours practicing their instruments alone in a quiet place. I am completely certain that the music students I met in Madrid are already successful and will continue to thrive, a bit like Albert Einstein and Charlie Chaplin, who both played the violin throughout their lives.
I am glad to be a music teacher and happy to provide this experience for our kids. Thank you 17th century technology: the violin!