At Voice Charter School in Queens, K-8 students learn to read music, play a little piano, harmonize and “sing, sing, sing,” reports the New York Times. Voice students do significantly better in math and somewhat better in reading than the New York City average.
Seventy percent of Voice students qualified for free lunch last year. All are admitted by lottery. No one auditions.
Teacher Kate Athens said skills learned in music class translate to her fourth-grade classroom. “They learn to stick with something hard and breaking things down into steps,” she said. “And work together as a group at such a young age.”
Younger students at Voice usually have music twice a day, and older students once, on average. To make time, the “school day is unusually long, from 7:55 a.m. to 4:25 p.m., which can be hard for small children,” reports the Times.
Twenty percent of the city’s public schools have no arts teachers, and low-income students are the least likely to be taught art and music, reports the Times. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has increased funding for arts teachers.