Return of Music Class Unclear After Being Canceled Due to Covid Restrictions

From 2018 to 2020 Pace had a music class taught by Mr. Rothschild. Students learned how to read and write music, and they had the choice of piano, keyboard, and guitar. Because of pandemic protocols, the music class was discontinued in the 2020-2021 school year and hasn’t yet returned.

Studies show that schools with music programs have an estimated 90.2% graduation rate and 93.9% attendance rate, compared to schools without music education, which average 72.9% graduation and 84.9% attendance.

Ms. O’Sullivan, an algebra teacher and advisor to Rock School, an after-school music program, said, “Sometimes if you know you have something fun to do after school you’ll come to school for it.”

According to Pace’s school performance dashboard, the four-year graduation rate has decreased by 15% from 2019-2021, the two recent years of the pandemic.

Studies show that young children who take music lessons show different brain development and improved memory over the course of a year, compared to children who do not receive musical training.

Even though Pace doesn’t have a music or choir program during school hours, during school events there are multiple performances of students playing instruments and singing.

Not only do students like the music classes, teachers could also. Music classes are an escape valve for teachers to not keep teaching the same boring curriculum all day and gives them the opportunity to teach kids something they are interested in.

Music also gives teachers the opportunity to get better at music. Ms. O’Sullivan said, “There’s a couple of people that are better in the guitar than I am so they could teach me as well.”

Music classes are important because many music professions require people to be able to read music. Mr. Rothschild, a voice major at New York University and the previous music teacher at Pace, said, “ People don’t necessarily know how to read music just because they know how to play music.” Learning how to read music is a new skill that is way different from playing music.

Music is also very related to mathematics and by improving skills in music, students could also improve their math. “If you can read music and you can follow a scale or a chord, that helps a lot with your questions in math class,” Mr. Rothschild said.

“Everyone is listening to music all the time so the chance to be able to play your own songs,” Ms. O’Sullivan said. This could be very helpful because having a break in the day to play a song that you are enthusiastic about could be helpful and could be a reason a student would like to come to school.

Music has been very beneficial to Pace students. It has helped them academically and mentally and Pace ending the music classes has had a negative effect on the students. If teachers decided not to hold after-school programs there would be no music at Pace.

Now that Covid cases are starting to decrease and there are starting to be fewer Covid restrictions the principal has the choice to continue with only after-school music classes or to bring back music class as an elective.