In a classroom, when a teacher combines musical knowledge, passion, and patience with a group of children thrilled by music, the results are extraordinary.
This is what is happening in Escolarte, a World Vision school of music and art in Sabana Perdida, in the Dominican Republic, where 40 children between the ages of 5 and 8 attend musical education classes.
These children are stimulated through music and have learned how to read musical notes, how to sing, and how to recognize the notes with great skill. They also participate in various musical games where they produce sounds with their palms and feet, sing, and have a great time while learning the universal language of music.
Traditionally, musical education in the Dominican Republic has been associated with the upper and middle classes, and music is not part of the public school curriculum. This is true even for many private schools. Those who wish to study music must enroll in a private program, which is expensive and only a minority of families can afford it.
World Vision provides the Escolarte school for children from families with little economic resources so they can develop their talents and enjoy life in all its fullness by realizing their dreams through music. Some may even opt for music as their career if they are interested.
One of the goals of these classes is to give children the opportunity to come into contact with the scientifically proven benefits that music offers for child development: auditory, sensory, and speech, as well as motor skills. Music helps children to be more independent, but also helps them learn to get along with others by establishing a more harmonious communication.
Among other proven benefits, music has a significant power to facilitate the development of concentration and to improve the learning of mathematics. Children also achieve rhythmic control of their bodies.
It is very interesting to see the results manifest in this group of children who began taking these classes just a few months ago and already have amazing harmony. This is a healthy space for children because the songs they sing are educational in content. Children learn discipline, improve their behavior, and develop their ability for analysis, among other benefits.
Aida Ramos teaches the class. She is a young woman who, with obvious emotion, says that she started playing the piano at age 8, and at 18 became a music teacher in several private schools in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo. Currently, she is about to finish her music degree at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo.
"The class is great; I'm going to make music," says Ian, a 6-year-old boy with considerable anticipation.
On the other hand, another student, Benly Roberto, 6, says, "I have to practice a lot to learn musical figures and tools so when I am older I can become an artist."
Most students in this class begin by learning to play the recorder as a complementary instrument. The next step is to introduce them to the variety of musical instruments available, and then they decide what they want to study to continue this path of melodious learning they have undertaken.
In addition to child sponsorship, World Vision supports a variety of programs designed to promote fullness of life for children in communities we serve.
Art programs are one of these. You can make a one-time donation to support art and music instruction programs, like the one at Escolarte!