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Elementary Music & Art

Elementary student artwork
Elementary boys playing the recorder
Elementary artists with colorful pens

In Their Words

Handwritten note about music from a student

Elementary Music & Art

Benefits: Beyond the Tests

Here at Clarkston Community Schools, our success is not defined by any single metric, but by a variety of measures that reflect this distinctive set of values. Look beyond standardized test scores and wonder about what makes a great learner.


The arts work to shift from binary thinking: "right" or "wrong" answers, and instead pushes students to think critically about the choices they make stylistically or otherwise. Students are taught that significance can be made through qualitative, not quantitative information. It is difficult to argue that there is not a “right” or “wrong” answer in music, as a wrong note is certainly in the realm of possibility. We can push students to see beyond right and wrong; that there is a level of understanding achieved beyond “just” right and wrong. This is even reinforced at the state level, for example, through the MSBOA and MSVMA festivals, for example, where “Style” and interpretation are in their own category and play an equal part in the overall rating of a performance. When it comes to interpretation, there may be many “right” ways.


In the arts, there is no bench. Students are not excluded from participating because of a lack of ability or talent. The expectation is the same for every student in the room, and thus the player's responsibility is to the other members in the group.


Students learn to hold themselves accountable for the information presented because of an intrinsic desire to improve the quality of their craft. As they progress, students acquire the knowledge necessary to identify and correct an incorrect pitch or rhythm using their auditory processing skills. They must also have the ability to concentrate on a task while processing what they are hearing, viewing from their conductor, and seeing on their canvas.


Students have to be able to imagine various solutions to possible problems to create an artistic piece or a passage of music that is an accurate representation of what has been composed.


It takes courage to create sound publicly every day and share a personal art form. Students create, play or sing for individually, in small groups, and large ensembles every day and subject their work to critique by peers and instructors.


"Art is one of the most powerful tools in disrupting the status quo. We see this time and time again, because artists have the ability to use the platform of art to translate difficult, topical, and controversial issues into an accessible medium for dialogue and engagement. Art can break down boundaries—political, socioeconomic, geographic—and can empower communities to protect their rights and legacies." - Nicole Dowd, Program Manager of Halycon Arts Lab


"Music is… magical... you take some seemingly random marks on a page, you blow air through a carefully constructed tube, and what comes out the other side is a sound that can convey things that words cannot... And while we can do a million random things with a million random objects, somehow, when we just blow some air through a tube, we create sounds that can move other human beings, can reach right into our brains and our hearts... That is… magical." – Peter Greene, The Huffington Post


A student learns to lead when he or she feels confident in his or her abilities, comfortable with those he or she is leading, and supported intellectually and emotionally by his or her instructors. We provide these opportunities daily. We build our team, year after year, and grow a community of kind, hard working people who all want the best for each other, because it's what's best for the ensemble.

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