The WFSO is committed to providing music education and programs for community enrichment. Why does Music Education Matter?
We offer educational programs and activities designed to give school-aged children a greater understanding of the importance of music in our lives. By connecting music with visual arts, history, and literature, our educational programs enrich classroom lessons and introduce students to the excitement of live performance.
The Young People’s Concert supports the mission of the WFSO by working collaboratively with educators to provide a live concert experience to area 5th graders in a real concert hall setting. The concert is held at Memorial Auditorium and takes place during the regular school day. The WFSO also provides a unique curriculum companion to the Young People’s concert, designed to enhance the overall concert experience. To find out more about this exciting program click here.
The WFSO’s Artist in Residence serves as an instructional coach in the WFISD school orchestra program, a critical lever in improving student achievement. The role of our coach is to build teacher capacity and help build the highest quality of student musicians.
Our current Artist in Residence is Amanda Hernandez. Amanda is a violinist and pedagogue originally from Midland, Texas and now based in Wichita Falls. With a passion for music education, Ms. Hernandez currently reaches students K-12 in WFISD in her roles as Artist-in-Residence for the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra and as Suzuki violin instructor for the Gail Key Academy of Music. She also serves as a strings coach for the Wichita Falls Youth Symphony Orchestra and as Adjunct Professor of Music at Midwestern State University. Ms. Hernandez holds a Master of Music in Violin Performance with Suzuki Pedagogy Emphasis from the University of Hartford, a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance from the University of Houston, and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Houston.
The Accent on Strings Program provides complimentary concert tickets for local middle school and high school orchestra students for all WFSO classical performances. The goal of the program is to recognize local orchestra directors and provide positive role models and mentoring experiences for orchestra students. Music students are offered complimentary tickets and their chaperones will receive a discounted ticket as well.
The Youth Symphony Orchestra (YSO) offers an apprentice program for talented young musicians to gain access to professional musicians in an educational setting and perform at a concert. Students wishing to participate are selected through an audition process by the YSO (4-6 total students each year). Apprentices are paired with a professional musician in the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra and receive six (6) hours of private instruction by their mentor prior to the concert. Students are expected to prepare and play most, if not all, of the music on the concert program. Apprentices are seated next to their mentor to play the full concert on stage.
The mission of the WFYSO is to provide music educational opportunities that lead to exceptional group performances and a lifelong appreciation of music.
Click here to go to the WF Youth Symphony website.
Thousands of scientific and academic studies have shown that music education improves academic achievement, builds communication skills, fosters creativity, develops teamwork and increases engagement in school.
Students who studied music performance and music appreciation scored higher on the SAT than students with no arts participation. Students in music performance scored 57 points higher on the verbal and 41 points higher on the math, and students in music appreciation scored 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on the math.
(Source: The College Entrance Examination Board).
Musicians have structurally and functionally different brains compared with non-musicians. In particular, the areas of the brain used to process music are larger or more active in musicians. Even just starting to learn a musical instrument changes the neurophysiology of the brain.
(Source: Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute)
Students who report consistent, high-level involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by grade 12.
(Source: Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning)
Music training improves scores in spatial-temporal reasoning used in higher levels of science and math. (Source: Keeping Mozart in Mind)
Students in high-quality school music programs score higher on standardized tests compared to students in schools with deficient music education programs, regardless of the socioeconomic level of the school or school district.
(Source: Journal of Research in Music Education)
Playing an instrument helps youngsters better process speech in noisy classrooms and more accurately interpret the nuances of language that are conveyed by subtle changes in the human voice. (Source: Physiology and Communication Sciences at Northwestern University)
A correlation exists between the amount of music training and the amount of improvement in reading fluency in children.
(Source: Learning, Arts and the Brain)
Music activities engage both the left and right hemisphere of the brain. In fact, studying music involves more right- and left-brain functions than any other activity measured. (Source: Good Music, Brighter Children)
For more information on why schools need music education, please download The Benefits of the Study of Music published by The National Association for Music Education.