Idaho Falls

September/October 2016

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IDAHOFALLSMAGAZINE.COM 59 YOUTH SYMPHONY | CULTURE n All Aboard: The Idaho Falls Youth Symphony Runs On STEAM And Now, They are Offering All of Us a Free Ride As our nation hurries to keep pace with the worldwide economy, more and more focus has been placed on STEM edu- cation: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Recently, there has been a grow- ing push to add the letter "A" to the acro- nym, recognizing the vital role the Arts play in the education of rising generations. The Idaho Falls Youth Symphony is a shining example of the strength that results from this alloy of arts and sciences. The Youth Symphony is the flagship ensemble of the Idaho Falls Symphony and includes over 100 members — from Sugar City in the north, to Blackfoot in the south. Its members are not only some of the most accomplished young musicians in the state of Idaho, but they also represent some of the most accomplished students in academ- ics and community service as well. The Youth Symphony helps put the "A" in "STEAM," and the results are nothing short of extraordinary. And starting this season, the Idaho Falls Youth Symphony will begin offering free admission to its concerts. Now, the impact of the Youth Symphony has the potential to reach far more young people. "The Idaho Falls Symphony is proud to support public music education," said Thomas Heuser, music director of the Idaho Falls Symphony. "By offering free admission to the concerts of our Youth Symphony, we hope to increase the number of kids who experience live classical music, piquing their interest and hopefully inspir- ing them to study music as well." The list of benefits from music education is long. It includes a lower incidence of drug use, an increase in creative abilities, an increased ability to work cooperatively, a propensity for hard work, and higher par- ticipation in volunteer and charitable activi- ties. Studies have found that music students consistently score higher on standardized tests such as the ACT and SAT, and a signif- icantly higher percentage of those students graduate from high school. A 2013 study at Michigan State University found a strong correlation between early exposure to the arts and suc- cess in STEM-related careers. The research- ers found that, of the STEM graduates they studied, those who own businesses or patents received eight times more music education exposure than the general public. And musical training seemed to be the most important, finding that 93 percent of the STEM graduates studied had reported musi- cal training at some point in their life. Youth Symphony students are learning first hand that participation in music builds a sense of pride and achievement. Elora Peterson, a former member of the Youth Symphony and recent graduate of Snake River High School, said simply, "I have loved Youth Symphony, and it has helped me learn to love myself." Adding her voice to the chorus of moti- vated students, Abby Turner, a member of the Youth Symphony and an Idaho Falls High School junior, said, "It's such a privi- lege to be surrounded by other hard-work- ing musicians who just want to do the same thing I do: make music." Camille Blackburn is the Director of Choral Music at Hillcrest High School and the current North West President of the National Association for Music Education. As a powerful advocate for music education in our public schools, she explains how dif- ficult it can be to adjust to changing educa- tion environments and philosophies. "Music Education always has and always will address the important components of any educational trend," said Ms. Blackburn. "We are, in fact, the original 'No Child Left Behind' program, since every student in a music ensemble needs to achieve a certain level of skill, understanding and accomplish- ment or the ensemble will not be successful." Camille and the Hillcrest choirs will be featured on the Youth Symphony's winter concert, scheduled for Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 7:30 in the Civic Auditorium. The "Americana" concert will feature American music by Copland, Bernstein and others, plus a host of patriotic favorites designed to honor our Veterans. So jump on board with the Idaho Falls Youth Symphony — an express train head- ed for success and fulfillment that audi- ences of all ages can now enjoy for free. PHOTO COURTESY BRAD BARLOW – B2XPHOTO IF BY IDAHO FALLS SYMPHONY STAFF

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