Whole-Child Learning Recovery Must Include Arts and Music

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The lights on Broadway went dark for more than a year, symphonies were silenced, and live concerts were cancelled. And just as things appeared to be resuming, another spike has reawakened fears and uncertainties. My choir singers at Boston Renaissance Charter Public School, like other arts and music students around the country, have missed a significant portion of their life. Singing in the “Voices of Renaissance” choir was more than just a fun hobby for them; it was a way to express themselves and interact with their classmates and community. It was a calming influence on their life, as well as a place of accountability where choir members were expected to live up to their expectations.

We were able to communicate on Zoom and come up with innovative ways to keep the choir involved, but the mentoring aspect was lost in the virtual translation. We couldn’t realistically have 125 pupils raise their voices 10 feet apart if they weren’t wearing masks. After all, if someone told me I had to stand 10 feet away from an alligator, I’d conclude it was dangerous to be near one. The first priority was safety, but what follows after could be even more crucial.

THE ARTS CAN BE A POWERFUL AND EFFECTIVE TOOL IN HELPING STUDENTS PROCESS THE WORLD AROUND THEM, STAY ENGAGED IN LEARNING, AND EXPRESS THEMSELVES IN A WAY THEY CANNOT IN OTHER SUBJECTS.

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