Education Through Music Los Angeles 7th Annual Benefit Gala Review - An Unforgettable Evening

Education Through Music had its 7th Annual Benefit Gala honoring composer John Williams and music teacher Linda Mouradian at the Skirball Cultural Center which helped to raise more than $150,000 for music education in the Los Angeles Unified School District.  After the Shining Star Awards were presented and a live auction with Michael Giacchino, special guests artists Lynn Harrell on cello, Joanne Pearce Martin on piano and Bing Wang on violin gave an incredible performance of music composed by John Williams.

Here is a video of Bing Wang and Joanne Pearce Martin performing the Theme From Schindler's List and Fiddler on the Roof at the gala.

John Williams and Michael Giacchino

Award-winning composers, musicians and musical educators came together for an enchanting evening under the stars at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California to benefit Education Through Music Los Angeles (ETMLA), a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and support music education by providing weekly, yearlong music instruction in disadvantaged schools.  Working with school and community leaders ETMLA partners with Los Angeles public and parochial elementary and middle schools that lack sufficient resources and funds for school-wide music education.  In a time when district cuts threaten music education programming in Los Angeles, there is a dire need for local and national support for continuation of music education programs.  Education Through Music is helping to make this education reality for thousands of children who would otherwise have limited or no exposure to the arts.  There is a growing void in the ever-shrinking budget of the Los Angeles Unified School System.  Despite the evidence of the benefits of music education, budget cuts to music in LA's schools is astronomical.  By the end of 2012, all music teachers will be cut from the city's elementary school curriculum.

Music educator Linda Mouradian

Scientific evidence has proven that early musical training helps develop brain areas involved in language and learning.  Brain development continues for many years after birth.  Recent studies have clearly indicated that musical training physically develops the part of the left side of the brain known to be involved with processing language, and can actually wire the brain's circuits in specific ways.  Linking familiar songs to new information creates a huge imprint on young minds.  There is also a causal link between music and spatial intelligence, by which one can visualize various elements that should go together, is critical to the sort of thinking necessary for everything from solving advanced mathematics problems to everyday organizational tasks.  More importantly, studies show that the students who study the arts are more successful on standardized tests such as the SAT as well as achieve higher grades in school.  Studies done by the National Association for Music Education in 2002 show that adolescent music education has produced a 46% increase in I.Q. scores.  Scientists have been observing physical effects on the brain and overall, the benefits predict success in life.  Children who have been exposed to a good music education are more likely to extend medical and engineering schools.

Joanne Pearce Martin on piano and Lynn Harrell on cello

"Our goal is to ensure that every child has the opportunity to study music.  It really should be like math and science and reading.  It should be part of the school day.  And what are they missing by not having it?  It's not a complete education without music and the arts as part of their core curriculum" states Victoria Lanier, Director of ETMLA.  There is simply an inequity in education for low-income Los Angeles. As ETMLA's founder, Victoria Lanier started the organization in 2006 and based it on the Education Through Music model founded in New York in 1991.  This 2012-2013 year ETMLA is serving approximately 5,500 Los Angeles schoolchildren in such disciplines as violin, cello, guitar, recorder, chorus and general music.

Student performance with conductor Ryan Rowles

Education Through Music's partner schools have typically more than 85% of the students who are eligible for the Federal Free or Reduced Lunch Program, determined by family income, over 95% are minorities, and 10% are disabled.  These schools lack funding for the school-wide music programs, but all have a desire to provide music education to every child they serve. 

Ahmanson Ballroom at the Skirball Cultural Center

ETMLA's ultimate goal is to ensure that every child has access to a complete, comprehensive music education and form partnerships with schools by creating individualized plans with four objectives:
Quality music instruction for every student.
Providing partner schools with highly trained professional music teachers.
Involving parents and educators in the idea that music education is essential to a child's academic growth and development.
Ongoing assessment and evaluation.

Robert Hershon and Mark Isham

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