AES students celebrate music

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 21, 2012


“Let us make a joyful noise” might not be the best thing to say to elementary school students, but that’s exactly what those at Andalusia Elementary School are focusing on this month as they celebrate “Music in Our Schools” month.

Joy Sowards, who is in her ninth year teaching music at AES, said the month-long event centers around the importance of music not only in school, but also in one’s life.

“A lot of people don’t realize that music is not a state education department requirement,” Sowards said. “That means schools don’t have to provide it for students, but thankfully, the administration at Andalusia recognizes the need for it in our schools.

“I tell my students, that had it not been for music, I would have missed out on so many opportunities in life – like traveling to a foreign county and meeting scores of new people,” she said.

MIOSM began as a single statewide celebration in 1973. It has grown over the decades to become a month-long celebration of school music, with a purpose to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children – and to remind citizens that school is where all children should have access to music.

MIOSM is an opportunity for music teachers to bring their music programs to the attention of the school and the community and to display the benefits school music brings to students of all ages.

At AES, each class attends music once a week, and is given an opportunity for voice and musical instrument instruction. Sowards concentrates the MIOSM lessons on third graders, teaching about the history of music.

“As an assignment, I asked them to write a sentence about why they like music or why it’s important to have in our schools,” she said. “The answers I got shocked me. One girl wrote she loved music because it was the only thing she was good at – which is not the case, at all. But she felt like it was the one area she excelled in, and it shows how important music is for our school and for her.

“I had another student who wrote, ‘Music makes me happy. It opens my heart. It makes me feel good and makes me good,’” she said. “How can you not smile at that?”

Sowards said students are exposed to music at the elementary school level so that it might create interest in the middle school and high school band program, as well as the high school choral department.

Students perform at various times throughout the year, including Christmas and at the end of the school year.