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  Cultural Arts

Band Camp 2019:  Believers!


 Our NBHS Marching Band and Kickline are already hard at work on this year's Halftime Show!  Congratulations to Drum Majors Tonianne Saturno, Heather Thompson and Nia-Lee Croswell.  


"The Art of Collaboration:  VIS 101"

Ms. Blank and our summer SUNY Farmingdale art students visited the Islip Art Museum to view the exhibit "The Art of collaboration".  IAM is a contemporary art museum housed in historic Brookwood Hall in Islip.  This particular exhibit, open until August 24, includes artists who "have collaborated beyond their medium of expression".  



"STEAMY Art Camp" 2019 SUCCESS!

 Students in grades 3-5 enjoyed a workshop with the Long Island Children's Museum  at our High School.  Together, they created their own cave drawings and learned about how these ancient pieces of art history are preserved and interpreted.  NB teachers Miss Murphy and Ms. Lambert worked with the children to also created their own unique tie dyed shirts for the art show on Friday morning. Great job, explorers!



North Babylon High School wins best musical at the BACCA Awards!

On behalf of the Babylon Citizens Council on the Arts and the Teen Theatre Committee, we are pleased to inform you that North Babylon High School has been awarded the following Teen Theatre Awards:

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical – Giovanna Aiello


Outstanding Production Value of a Musical - Seussical


Outstanding Dance Performance - Teens in Tune (Omar Karim, Jessica Romero, Jason Valverde, Marcus Wilkinson)

Assistant Director - Maya Sepulveda

Student Choreographers and Dance Captains from Seussical - Giovanna Aiello, Elijah Bailey, Joshua Gibson and Arianna Pentecost

Outstanding Musical - Seussical

James McGarrity Senior Achievement Award - Jacob Lesko

 This year’s Teen Theatre Awards Ceremony were awarded on Friday, June 7, 2019 at Lindenhurst High School. We congratulate Mrs Drance and all members of the NBHS Drama Club on these terrific awards!



Music students do better in school than non-musical peers


June 24, 2019


University of British Columbia


High school students who take music courses score significantly better on math, science and English exams than their non-musical peers, according to a new study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology.

School administrators needing to trim budgets often look first to music courses, because the general belief is that students who devote time to music rather than math, science and English, will underperform in those disciplines.

"Our research proved this belief wrong and found the more the students engage with music, the better they do in those subjects," said UBC education professor and the study's principal investigator, Peter Gouzouasis. "The students who learned to play a musical instrument in elementary and continued playing in high school not only score significantly higher, but were about one academic year ahead of their non-music peers with regard to their English, mathematics and science skills, as measured by their exam grades, regardless of their socioeconomic background, ethnicity, prior learning in mathematics and English, and gender."

Gouzouasis and his team examined data from all students in public schools in British Columbia who finished Grade 12 between 2012¬ and 2015. The data sample, made up of more than 112,000 students, included those who completed at least one standardized exam for math, science and English, and for whom the researchers had appropriate demographic information -- including gender, ethnicity, neighbourhood socioeconomic status, and prior learning in numeracy and literacy skills. Students who studied at least one instrumental music course in the regular curriculum counted as students taking music. Qualifying music courses are courses that require previous instrumental music experience and include concert band, conservatory piano, orchestra, jazz band, concert choir and vocal jazz.

The researchers found the predictive relationships between music education and academic achievement were more pronounced for those who took instrumental music rather than vocal music. The findings suggest skills learned in instrumental music transfer very broadly to the students' learning in school.

"Learning to play a musical instrument and playing in an ensemble is very demanding," said the study's co-investigator Martin Guhn, an assistant professor in UBC's school of population and public health. "A student has to learn to read music notation, develop eye-hand-mind coordination, develop keen listening skills, develop team skills for playing in an ensemble and develop discipline to practice. All those learning experiences, and more, play a role in enhancing the learner's cognitive capacities, executive functions, motivation to learn in school, and self-efficacy."

The researchers hope that their findings are brought to the attention of students, parents, teachers and administrative decision-makers in education, as many school districts over the years have emphasized numeracy and literacy at the cost of other areas of learning, particularly music.

"Often, resources for music education -- including the hiring of trained, specialized music educators, and band and stringed instruments -- are cut or not available in elementary and secondary schools so that they could focus on math, science and English," said Gouzouasis. "The irony is that music education -- multiple years of high-quality instrumental learning and playing in a band or orchestra or singing in a choir at an advanced level -- can be the very thing that improves all-around academic achievement and an ideal way to have students learn more holistically in schools."

Journal Reference:

  1. Martin Guhn, Scott D. Emerson, Peter Gouzouasis. A population-level analysis of associations between school music participation and academic achievement.Journal of Educational Psychology, 2019; DOI: 10.1037/edu0000376

Congratulations, Mrs. Gregorek!

Presiding Officer Gregory honors exceptional teachers who have made a positive impact on education at his Teacher Appreciation Awards Night.  This year, Legislator Gregory will honor our very own Lisa Gregorek for sharing her gifts, dedication, talents and creativity with the children of North Babylon.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 @ 6:30 pm

Suffolk County Legislature in Hauppauge




Congratulations to our community for winning this award for 2019!


District Art Show 

Babylon Town Hall   200 Sunrise Highway, Lindenhurst

Congratulations to all of our artists!





Miss Verderosa and a jazz ensemble at the "Night of 1000 Words" event at NBHS 



 Congratulations to all those who participated in our 2019 musical, "Seussical".  



 Local Seniors Enjoy Complimentary

"Dinner and A Show"



 On Thursday, March 22, local Senior Citizens enjoyed a lovely dinner and a preview of "Seussical" at NBHS.  Our thanks to Mr. Goetz and the Renaissance Club as well as member of Tri M Music Honor Society for serving the Seniors.  

Individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound: young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers.

Music, hearing, and education: from the lab to the classroom; quoted in Northwestern University,
September/October, 2017.


 Seniors Represent District in Exhibit

Four NBHS seniors had their visual arts talents masterfully displayed this past month during the Go APE Advanced Placement Exhibit 2019 at the Art League of Long Island. 

Student artwork included “Koi Kon Kon” by Madelyn Alvarez, “Untitled” by Laura An, “The Other Ms. Jackson” by Lakeyah Jackson and “The Chameleon” by Olivia Kennedy.

The district is proud of the efforts students demonstrated for the exhibit.





Congratulations to Mr. Wink, Mr. Lazarek and the NBHS Marching Band and Kickline on their terrific performance on March 16, 2019 in the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade.  

Research shows that making music changes the brain, and that these brain changes have tangible impacts on listening skills, learning and cognition.

Music, hearing, and education: from the lab to the classroom; quoted in Northwestern University,
September/October, 2017




Creativity Displayed at All-County, Scholarship Show

Four High School students had their artwork on display in the seventh annual Suffolk County Art Leaders Association All-County and Scholarship Show. The show is sponsored by SCALA and Babylon Citizens Council on the Arts. Art teachers and directors whose districts are institutional members of SCALA are eligible to exhibit their students work in the show and scholarship competition. 

Student participants were ninth-graders Mia Bacchi and Shane Halleran, and 12th-graders Zoe Hartmann and Evgenia Kennedy. For the All-County portion of the show, each student was selected by their teacher based on their skill, creativity and dedication to the arts. 

Zoe was chosen to participate in the senior scholarship portion of the show since she is a graduating senior and will be pursuing art in college. With that, Zoe was given the opportunity to display three pieces of artwork and write an essay about what inspires her as an artist.  

scala photo



All-County Musicians

Congratulations to the 44 students across the district that have been selected to perform at the 2019 Suffolk County Music Educators’ (SCMEA) All County Music Festival in March.

To be selected for this All County Festival, students in grades 5-10 must score among the top NYSSMA musicians across Suffolk County and have top recommendations from their school music teacher. Once selected, students will participate in three intense rehearsals with students from other schools in Western Suffolk.  

Kenneth Aikens-Tenor
Gavin Aquino-Viola
Kayla Banville-Children's Voice
Mia Berghauser-Children's Voice
Emilie Bobrowski-Children's Voice
Thomas Bruggemann-Violin
Chelsea Caballos-Children's Voice
Gianna Cardone-Children's Voice
Nicholas Castillo-Bb Clarinet
Kevin Chicas-Violin
Alyssa Cueves-Children's Voice
Aanya Dhamija-Children's Voice
Ethan Duclair-Trumpet/Cornet
Alison Fadoul-Baritone/Euph
J-Lene Fernandez-Children's Voice
Addison Forseth-Violin
Tristan Garcia-Viola
Bayla Goldberg-Children's Voice
Ruby Haberman-Cello
Kaeden Hannan-Children's Voice
Kathryn Iudica-Flute
Grace Knapp-Children's Voice
Spencer Mace-Viola
Vivian Mace-Viola
Talia Maio-Soprano
Jessica Marcis-Children's Voice
Colin McDonald-Double Bass
Mia McPartling-Bb Clarinet
Emily Meyer-Soprano
Kayle Milheiser -Children's Voice
Emma Miller-Children's Voice
Alexandra Moreno-Cello
Madeline Murphy-Violin
Alejandro Palma Blanco-Trumpet/Cornet
Sara Parikh -Flute
Jaylin Perez-Children's Voice
Reese Rowland-Oboe
Kennedy Royal-Baritone Sax
Imran Shah-Double Bass
Aaliyah Siddiqui-Flute
Heather Thomson-Bb Clarinet
Joseph Valdemira-Snare Drum
Hailey Walters-Violin
Taylor Ward-Viola


Showcasing Talents at Prestigious Festival 


 Four musicians from the High School showcased their talents performing in the prestigious Long Island String Festival Association’s Chamber Music Festival at the Staller Center at SUNY Stony Brook. 

Under the guidance of teacher Nicole Verderosa, students that participated in this opportunity were Bayinah Agant, Jaime Crafa, Esther Duclair and Heather O'Leary. Students were selected based on their exemplary recordings of pieces they performed in a rigorous audition process as well as teacher nomination.    
Students received coaching from members of a professional string quartet prior to the performance. The all-day training culminated in the public performance on the main stage.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that the high school has had students selected for this event.

Congratulations to our RMMS Marching Band on a wonderful performance at the

Mineola St. Patrick's Day Parade

on March 3, 2019


Congratulations to Ms. Rosenthal and the Woods Road Elementary School Chorus students who sang their way into our hearts at the 2019 Founder's Day Celebration.







Attention Juniors and Seniors!  

There are many upcoming scholarships for which you may be eligible.    Be sure to check out our scholarship section by using the link on this page and find the opportunities that are just right for you. 





(516) 223-2522,
FREEPORT, NY (Nov. 1, 2018) -- The Arts Council at Freeport announced the launching of a new program that will allow all area students to experience the arts at a greatly reduced price. In collaboration with the Westbury-based credit union NEFCU, the Access to the Arts© card will be available to all teenagers in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Access to the Arts replaces a previous program, High5, with more participating organizations, including Suffolk County venues. Some of the many participating organizations include: Nassau County Museum of Art, Landmark on Main Street, Tilles Center, Malverne Community Theatre, Heckscher Museum of Art, and Cinema Arts Center. 

Addressing the concern that the price of admission to many cultural events and venues is beyond the financial means of many students, the Access to the Arts card will help open more doors to theaters, arts centers and museums for area teens. By purchasing the Access to the Arts card from the Arts Council at Freeport for $10, the student can present their personalized card to participating arts organizations throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties, and purchase a ticket to that art event for only $5. So instead of paying $15 or more for an art film, the student would only pay $5. Instead of paying a museum’s suggested admission price of $20, the student would pay $5. A $30 ticket to a concert would also be just $5. 

“This is an exciting, and much-needed, program that allows students to attend museums, concerts, art exhibits, and live theatre for a fraction of the price,” said Laurence Dresner, the Executive Director of the Arts Council at Freeport. “It allows students to take a risk by seeing something new and different. They can explore the splendor of the arts in all its variety at a fraction of the cost that allows them to find their passion in the familiar and the unfamiliar. We’re thrilled that NEFCU is partnering with us to offer this program throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.”

“Some of the most inspiring cultural institutions are right here on Long Island, and we want to make access to those more organizations more affordable for all teens,” said Valerie Garguilo, vice president of marketing and community relations at NEFCU. “This program will certainly open young people’s minds and eyes to the arts. We’re excited to participate and eager to see it take hold throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.”

Access to the Arts card is only available on the Arts Council at Freeport’s website ( Participants can download the enrollment form and instructions in purchasing the Access to the Arts card. They can also view the growing list of participating venues and organizations and confirm the availability of tickets for the event they’re interested in attending on the Art Council’s website. 

NEFCU is one of Long Island’s leading credit unions that proudly offers its affordable banking services to all Long Islanders. With $3 billion in assets and over 185,000 members, NEFCU has branches and a shared branch network throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. To join NEFCU, eligible members must live, work, attend school, or regularly conduct business in Nassau and/or Suffolk counties (excluding the townships of East Hampton, Southampton and Shelter Island). Existing NEFCU members may also sponsor immediate family members or household members. For more information, visit, call 516-561-0030 or find us on Facebook at  
# # # 





270 students took part in Suffolk County Community College's annual Unity Day -- an event offered to middle and high school students as a way to unite students from across our county and discuss several of the issues they must confront each day. 

This year's theme? Sending Out Universal Love ... Mind, Body and Soul Mental health and Wellness -- the keynote address was presented by Eric Noel Perez, an English teacher, author, motivational speaker and yoga instructor. 

Students were also treated to a performance by students from North Babylon.  We congratulate Mrs. Drance and her students on this performance.




Congratulations MGV Artists!

5th grade students from MGV visited an exhibit of their own artwork at the Long Island Children's Museum on January 16, 2019  Together with their creative and energetic teacher Mrs. Lisa Gregorek, the students presented original works in the style of artist Keith Haring.  The Museum Administrators are so delighted with the work that they presented each artist with a free pass to return to visit their work with family members.




 LISFA Chamber Festival 

On Saturday, January 5, 2019, four musicians from North Babylon High School performed in the Long Island String Festival Association’s Chamber Music Festival.   Students were selected based on their exemplary recordings of pieces they performed in a rigorous audition process as well as teacher nomination.   The prestigious event was held at the Staller Center at SUNY Stony Brook and featured members of a professional string quartet.  Students received coaching from these esteemed musicians throughout the day, which culminated in a public performance on the main stage.

Under the guidance of teacher Nicole Verderosa, students Esther Duclair,  Jaime Crafa, Heather O'Leary and Bayinah Agant participated in this opportunity.  This marks the fourth consecutive year that North Babylon has had students selected for this event. 




Congratulations to Mrs. Pino and the wonderful RMMS Marching Band on a great performance.

 Art Contest Finalist!

Congratulations to Woods Road art student Sabrina Swan!!  Sabrina entered the first annual art contest run by the Michael Phelps Foundation to promote water safety, healthy living and the pursuit of dreams.  As a competitive swimmer and visual artist, Sabrina created this beautiful drawing and was one of six national finalists in the contest.  




Great job, cast, crew and Mrs. Drance!

Congratulations to our 4th and 5th grade students on a wonderful performance at the Lighting of the Holiday Tree at Belmont Lake State Park on December 2, 2018.

BOE Honors All-County All-State Musicians 

Members of the Board of Education honored talented student-musicians who were selected for the New York Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association All-County Festival and the New York State School Music Association All-State Music Festival. The NYSCAME All-County students included Sophia Bonventre (chorus), Julia Williams (chorus), Jacob Lesko (mixed chorus), Esther Duclair (orchestra), Evgenia Kennedy (band), and Carlos Sabogal (band). Their teachers are Christina Henderson (chorus), Chris Wink (band) and Nicole Verderosa (orchestra). 

Bonventre (chorus) and Lesko (chorus) will also be performing in the NYSSMA All State Music Festival, which will take place from Nov. 29-Dec. 2 at Eastman Theatre in Rochester. They are both students of Ms. Christina Henderson.


All-County All-State Musicians 

The district is proud to announce the selection of several extremely talented student-musicians to perform in the New York Suffolk County Music Educators’ Association All-County Festival and the New York State School Music Association All-State Music Festival. The NYSCAME All-County Festival concert will take place on Nov. 16 at Half Hollow Hills East High School, and the NYSSMA All State Music Festival will take place from Nov. 29-Dec. 2 at Eastman Theatre in Rochester.
The NYSCAME All-County students include Sophia Bonventre (chorus), Julia Williams (chorus), Jacob Lesko (mixed chorus), Esther Duclair (orchestra), Evgenia Kennedy (band), and Carlos Sabogal (band). Their teachers are Christina Henderson (chorus), Chris Wink (band) and Nicole Verderosa (orchestra).

Bonventre (chorus) and Lesko (chorus) will also be performing in the NYSSMA All State Music Festival. They are both students of Ms. Christina Henderson.

boe honors


RMMS "Stands up" for Veterans

On Tuesday, November 13, 2018, 8th grade members of the award winning RMMS Marching Band performed at the Northport VA Rehabilitation Center for our wonderful veterans.  The kids delighted everyone present with a mix of patriotic and popular music.  Congratulations to Mrs. Pino and her terrific band on this very worthwhile and inspiring performance.

 RMMS Sunrise Serenade


On Thursday, November 8, 2018, Mrs. Buehler and the "RMMS Select Choir" travelled to the West Babylon Sunrise Senior Living Facility to perform for the residents.  




at the Newsday Marching Band Festival

photos courtesy of Newsday.

for additional photos, go to



Congratulations to North Babylon's own Royalty: 

NBHS Drama Club's Princesses and Pizza!




A record breaking audience thrilled to performances of NBHS Drama Club members delighting the audience with melodies from "The LIttle Mermaid", "Frozen", "The Lion King", "Moana" and of course, "Cinderella".  Wonderful job!





Lights, Camera, Action!  

New stage lighting in High School Auditorium


Students from NBHS joined Mrs. Drance and Dr. Kim for a half day of training with Barbizon Theatrical Lighting on September 21, 2018.



Upcoming PASA Meeting:  

 June 11, 2019

Meetings are held in the High School teacher's cafeteria and all are welcome.


The purpose of PASA is to encourage interest in an attendance at the many varied activities of the performing arts groups of the North Babylon Schools.  PASA supports North Babylon students by advocating, promoting and lobbying, community wide, the virtues of the performing arts.  Performing Arts includes music and dramatic performance, as well as art, dance, visual arts and technical theatre. (By Laws, 2007)

For just $5, you can be a member of PASA and show your support for the fantastic programs here in North Babylon. F
ill out your form and send it in to your child’s music or art teacher, or to the PASA mailbox located in the High School.  Click HEREto download a copy of the current PASA membership form.

Monthly meetings are held in NBHS at 7:30 pm and dates are listed on the District Calendar.

 For additional information, email President Kathy Scheid at  Membership forms are available in the Music and Art Office, Room 105 at the HS.  



"Kristina's big idea" is here to help!

 We are creating a library for all future NYSSMA students and you can help!  If you purchased a 2nd copy of music for your child’s NYSSMA appointment and you do not need it anymore, we ask that you donate it to the Music Department.  The scores will be made available to any student who needs it for next year’s auditions, festival and college auditions.  

Please drop your music off at NBHS Room 105 of the High School anytime over the summer months between 8 and 2pm.  Thanks to Kristina Scheid, a scholarship winning student at Molloy College and 2017 NBHS Graduate for this project.  Thank you for helping us with “Kristina’s Big Idea” and have a great summer!



North Babylon's Music Education Program Receives National Recognition

District is one of 4% of school districts in nation to receive distinction


North Babylon, NY - April 6, 2018 - The North Babylon School District has been honored with the Best Communities for Music Education designation from the NAMM Foundation for it's outstanding commitment to music education.  This is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.  In a survey completed by Dr. Lowenborg-Coyne, questions were answered  about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program and community music making programs.  Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by the Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.  

This marks the 12th time since 2003 that the District has been honored by NAMM.

Childhood Lesson: Color Outside the Lines—How being a child artist helped me become a better business leader

Posted by Matt D'Arrigo, Jan 11, 2017  “No one ever discovered anything coloring inside the lines.” —Thomas Vasquez I’ve been an artist since my earliest childhood memories, falling in love with crayons, paint, paper, pastels, pencils—anything I could get my hands on. I would create with reckless abandon. Throwing colors, shapes, and scribbles onto paper feeling pure joy. Slowly, as I got older, I began to learn how to become a better artist. I learned how to control the medium, hone the skills and techniques needed to make my art look like it was supposed to, how to follow the rules. Although important in order to achieve the desired result, it also had its downside. I fell into the trap of focusing too much on the technique and final product rather than the process of creativity. I was not exploring the potential for creative discovery by breaking the rules and coloring outside the lines! Growing up, one of my art teachers had a little cartoon on his desk that read “Why color inside the lines when coloring outside the lines is so much fun?” It clicked with me. The greatest lesson I learned as a childhood artist was the power and importance of coloring outside the lines—that’s where the magic and fun happens. In 2001 I made the transition from artist to non-profit founder & CEO of ARTS | A Reason To Survive, a Creative Youth Development organization based in National City, Calif., that ignites the power of creativity in youth, inspires them to overcome obstacles, and provides them with the skills needed to become compassionate catalysts of positive change in themselves, their community, and the world. I now realize how important this lesson is and how it translates into the business world. Here are my top 5 reasons how coloring outside the lines has helped me in business today: 1) It Takes Courage “Creativity Takes Courage.” —Henri Matisse Anyone can play it safe, follow the rules, and blend in. Taking risks, stepping outside your comfort zone, finding your own unique voice and style that sets you apart from everyone else takes tremendous courage. No one makes his or her mark on the world by being timid or following what others are doing. People thought I was crazy for starting ARTS during the 2001 recession. They told me it would be too hard, the timing wasn’t right, I didn’t have any experience—maybe I should just work for an arts non-profit. There were many doubters, including myself. Fifteen years later we’ve created this incredible work of art and are going stronger than ever! 2) Mistakes Are Encouraged “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” —Scott Adams If you’re making mistakes it means you’re trying new things, pushing the envelope, and taking risks. It’s the only way to be innovative. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes and grow. “Mistakes” are often the beginning of a totally new direction that could not have been seen or imaged otherwise. The first mistake I made was trying to immediately open an ARTS Center in 2001. It was my dream and vision, but the funds were not coming in. We explored how else we could provide our services with low overhead. By pivoting and launching outreach programs to hospitals and shelters, it led to success and gained the support we needed to open our first ARTS Center in 2007. Working through mistakes and roadblocks also builds another key ingredient in success: resilience. 3) It Forces You to Let Go of Control   “Let it go, let it gooooo…”—Queen Elsa, “Frozen” As an artist, at some point, you need to let go of control, trust the creative process, and let it take you in directions outside your comfort zone. This can be applied in the business environment; if you try to control too much, you stifle creativity and you become a bottleneck suppressing others’ ideas and input. You need to trust and empower others, embrace new approaches, and be ok if it doesn’t work out. As a founder this can be especially challenging, but the only way to grow is to let it go! 4) It Affirms that Creativity is King “To be creative, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” – Joseph Chilton Pearce Being an artist or leading a business requires a tremendous amount of creativity. You can’t be creative by playing it safe and you must be prepared to be wrong. Everything is not always a home run. Fresh approaches, unique ideas, and creative problem solving can not only set you apart from others, but it can be the difference between sinking or swimming. When IBM surveyed the CEOs of the top Fortune 500 companies, they identified “creativity” as the #1 leadership quality for the 21st century.
5) It’s Fun
“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

Like my teacher’s cartoon said, coloring outside the lines is fun. We need to remember to find the joy in what we do, continually surprise ourselves, and have fun. If you’re having fun, others around you will also. It’s contagious.

Picasso said it best: “All children are artists; the problem is staying an artist once we grow up.”

We all need to reconnect and celebrate the child artist in all of us and remember the importance of coloring outside the lines.






Getting Started in Band and Orchestra

Each year our 4th grade students have the opportunity to select the instrument they will begin playing. The process begins with an introduction to the instrument families in Music Class. This is followed by a demonstration by members of our music staff,who give each student a great deal of personalized information and experience to assist in their choices.

A letter is sent home with each student so you can discuss your choices as a family. When the form is returned, our staff evaluates the choices and selects  the instrument we feel is best suited to the students physical and musical attributes. Please note that this may not be their first choice, but it is what we believe to be their best opportunity for success.

All are welcome to join our band and orchestra program and no prior experience is required.  We hope you join us!




Study: Music Education Aids Cognitive Development

13music_violin_blog.jpgStudying music seems to have helped accelerate the cognitive development, and particularly the auditory- and speech and language-processing abilities, of a group of young children in Los Angeles.

That's an early pair of findings from a five-year longitudinal study being conducted by researchers with the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California, in partnership with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and the Heart of Los Angeles, a community center. The study, published earlier this spring in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, checks in on a group of students two years into an experiment about the impact of music education on students' cognitive, social, and emotional development.

Previous studies have shown that adult musicians' brains are distinct from those of non-musicians, and that musical training in early childhood is associated with structural changes in the brain. The USC researchers write that this study should increase the field's understanding of how and whether musical training affects the brain.

The researchers began following 45 children, all from economically disadvantaged, bilingual households (most are Latino, one is Korean) in Southern California, starting when the children were 6 and 7. The initial group was split into three: One set of 13 students is receiving music instruction through the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, one group is playing soccer, and another is involved in no particular after-school activity. Eight students have since dropped out of the study or moved, so this paper focuses on the 37 remaining students.

The students in the music program are being taught using an approach based on El Sistema, developed in Venezuela. They receive free instruments and intensive, regular training from adult musicians. The students are occasionally monitored via MRIs, EEGs, and other activities to gauge their brain development.

Two years in, the students in the music group were more able to identify differences in musical pitch on a piano than other students. The brain scans also showed that these students had more-developed auditory pathways than their peers.

The authors write that this development in auditory processing also affects students' ability to process speech and language—which means it could have an impact on students' academic progress as well as their musical abilities.

This study is one of a number tackling the impact of music on young people's brains. Education Week spoke with one of the researchers involved in this study, neuroscientist Antonio R. Damasio, as it was beginning in 2013.

At the time, Damasio said he and his colleagues were interested in how music training and creation affect the entire brain:


"We say that when people are inspired, they create, that it all comes in a rush," said Antonio R. Damasio, a neuroscience professor at the University of Southern California, "but, of course, it comes in a rush if you've trained your hands and your mind for an entire lifetime. That moment of inspiration generally comes on the back of a whole process of imagination and knowledge and criticism of what has come before."

"We want to know what circuitries are involved, but this is something about the whole brain, not left or right brain or some particular cortex," he said...


Many schools have experienced cuts in arts and music programs in recent decades. In Los Angeles and other school districts, advocates have been highlighting the inequitable distribution of arts programs in schools. (Many schools serving the most disadvantaged students don't have robust arts programs.) Studies like this one may bolster claims that access to music education in schools, especially where many students are living in poverty, could benefit children's cognitive development.




Method Books for K-8 Orchestra and Band 


Elementary Orchestra: Mr. Schultheis, Ms. DiVito
String Explorer, Book 1 or 2 (ask your teacher for details)

Middle School Orchestra:  Ms. Rzwenski
Essential Elements for Strings, Book 2 
OR Essential Technique for Strings, Book 3

Elementary Band:  Mr. Orig or Mrs. Gembinski 
Accent on Achievement

Middle School Band:  Mrs. Pino
Standard of Excellence, Book 2




Do Pull Out Music Lessons Harm Students Academically? 

Those of you who worry about the effects of pull-out band lessons on the academic achievement of students can breathe a sigh of relief today!  A new study (Hash 2011) has confirmed previous findings that students who are pulled from traditional classes to participate in band lessons perform just as well--if not better--than non-band students in state testing.  Similar findings have been found for orchestra students. (Kinney, 2008).

This does not imply that participation in band makes one smarter; however, it does help to alleviate fears that pull-out lessons may harm students academically. According to this latest study, even the lowest-performing band students still out-perform the majority of the highest performing non-band students, even after several years of pull-out lessons. This may be good news for parents who worry about their children’s progress and for classroom teachers who may eventually be evaluated by their students’ performance on standardized testing.


How music training alters the teenage brain

Music training initiated during high school might hone brain development Date:July 20, 2015  Source:Northwestern University  Summary:Music training, begun as late as high school, may help improve the teenage brain's responses to sound and sharpen hearing and language skills, suggests a new study. The authors say that these results highlight music's place in the high school curriculum.     According to the authors, high school music training -- increasingly disfavored due to funding shortfalls -- might hone brain development and improve language skills. Music training, begun as late as high school, may help improve the teenage brain's responses to sound and sharpen hearing and language skills, suggests a new Northwestern University study. The research, to be published the week of July 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), indicates that music instruction helps enhance skills that are critical for academic success. The gains were seen during group music classes included in the schools' curriculum, suggesting in-school training accelerates neurodevelopment. "While music programs are often the first to be cut when the school budget is tight, these results highlight music's place in the high school curriculum," said Nina Kraus, senior study author and director of Northwestern's Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at the School of Communication. "Although learning to play music does not teach skills that seem directly relevant to most careers, the results suggest that music may engender what educators refer to as 'learning to learn,'" Kraus added. Kraus and colleagues recruited 40 Chicago-area high school freshmen in a study that began shortly before school started. They followed these children longitudinally until their senior year.
Nearly half the students had enrolled in band classes, which involved two to three hours a week of instrumental group music instruction in school. The rest had enrolled in junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), which emphasized fitness exercises during a comparable period. Both groups attended the same schools in low-income neighborhoods.

Electrode recordings at the start of the study and three years later revealed that the music group showed more rapid maturation in the brain's response to sound. Moreover, they demonstrated prolonged heightened brain sensitivity to sound details.

All participants improved in language skills tied to sound-structure awareness, but the improvement was greater for those in music classes, compared with the ROTC group.

According to the authors, high school music training -- increasingly disfavored due to funding shortfalls -- might hone brain development and improve language skills.

The stable processing of sound details, important for language skills, is known to be diminished in children raised in poverty, raising the possibility that music education may offset this negative influence on sound processing.

"Our results support the notion that the adolescent brain remains receptive to training, underscoring the importance of enrichment during the teenage years," the authors wrote.

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Northwestern University. The original item was written by Julie Deardorff. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.  Journal Reference:  1.Adam T. Tierney, Jennifer Krizman, and Nina Kraus. Music training alters the course of adolescent auditory development. PNAS, July 2015 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1505114112 


America's best teachers get creative

Date:May 5, 2015 
Source:Michigan State University 

Summary:America's best teachers rap their algebra lessons, use music to teach Kafka and find other ways to use their own creative interests to teach their students, finds a new study. Examining the classroom practices of National Teacher of the Year winners and finalists, the study suggests successful educators aren't afraid to push the boundaries by incorporating real world, cross-disciplinary themes into their lessons. 

While U.S. educational policy emphasizes high-stakes testing and scripted lessons, the best teachers in the business are taking creative risks -- often drawing from their own interests and hobbies -- to help students learn, new research finds.

Examining the classroom practices of National Teacher of the Year winners and finalists, the study, by Michigan State University scholars, suggests successful educators aren't afraid to push the boundaries by incorporating real world, cross-disciplinary themes into their lessons.

Consider the San Diego teacher who raps his algebra lessons. Or the Oregon science teacher whose students create advertisements to learn photosynthesis. Or the Iowa language arts teacher who uses musical concepts to teach Franz Kafka's complex novella "The Metamorphosis."

The study, published online in the journal Teachers College Record, is one of the first in-depth investigations of how exceptional teachers use creativity in the classroom.

"The best teachers are taking their own creative interests -- from rap music to cooking to kickboxing -- and are finding ways to incorporate these into the curriculum," said Danah Henriksen, assistant professor of educational psychology and educational technology and lead author of the study. "They're bringing together different subject matters and finding areas of connections so students can learn both in interesting ways."

America's test-driven educational policy, Henriksen argues, has "impeded creativity in teaching and learning." Many teachers today struggle to balance high-stakes testing and accountability with the ability to act flexibly, independently and creatively in their classrooms.  

For more information, go to



NBHS Choir performs at Carnegie Hall


Brain Imaging Shows Enhanced Executive Brain Function in People with Musical Training
Date: June 17, 2014
Source:Boston Children's Hospital

A controlled study using functional MRI brain imaging reveals a possible biological link between early musical training and improved executive functioning in both children and adults, report researchers at Boston Children's Hospital.
The study, appearing online June 17 in the journal PLOS ONE, uses functional MRI of brain areas associated with executive function, adjusting for socioeconomic factors.

Executive functions are the high-level cognitive processes that enable people to quickly process and retain information, regulate their behaviors, make good choices, solve problems, plan and adjust to changing mental demands.
"Since executive functioning is a strong predictor of academic achievement, even more than IQ, we think our findings have strong educational implications,"
says study senior investigator Nadine Gaab, PhD, of the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston Children's.


"While many schools are cutting music programs and spending more and more time on test preparation, our findings suggest that musical training may actually help to set up children for a better academic future."

Boston Children's Hospital. "Brain imaging shows enhanced executive brain function in people with musical training." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2014. <>.


In a longitudinal study of 25,000 secondary school students, those with higher involvement in the arts scored better on measures of persistence than their peers with lower arts involvement."


Catterall, J. S. (1998). Involvement in the arts and success in secondary school. American for the Arts Monographs, 1(9).


"Arts education helps students become better readers and writers. This instruction increases reading readiness and word fluency in early grades and continues to improve reading comprehension and writing skills throughout middle and high school."


Podlozny, A. (2000). Strengthening verbal skills through the use of classroom drama: A clear link. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 34, 239-276. 2 Walker, E., Tabone, C., & Weltsek, G. (2011). When achievement data meet drama and arts integration. Language Arts, 88, 365-372.

Students who study the arts, especially music, outperform their non-arts peers on mathematics assessments.Arts integrated math instruction also facilitates mastery of computation and estimation skills, and challenging concepts like fractions.  


Harris, M. A. (2007). Differences in mathematics scores between students who receive traditional Montessori instruction and students who receive music enriched Montessori instruction. Journal for Learning through the Arts, 3. 5 Kinney, D. W., & Forsythe, J. L. (2005). The effects of the arts IMPACT curriculum upon student performance on the Ohio fourth-grade proficiency test. Bulletin of the Council for
Research in Music Education, 164, 35-48.


Why are the ARTS important?

  1. They are languages that all people speak that cut across racial, cultural, social, educational, and economic barriers and enhance cultural appreciation and awareness.
  2. They provide opportunities for self-expression, bringing the inner world into the outer world of concrete reality.
  3. They develop both independence and collaboration.
  4. They make it possible to use personal strengths in meaningful ways and to bridge into understanding sometimes difficult abstractions through these strengths.
  5. They improve academic achievement -- enhancing test scores, attitudes, social skills, critical and creative thinking.
  6. They exercise and develop higher order thinking skills including analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and "problem-finding."
  7. They provide the means for every student to learn.




Letter: Arts are important for sciences

Congratulations to the 53 students from Nassau and Suffolk counties who were recently named national Intel Science Talent Search semifinalists ["Intel contest," News, Jan. 10]. What is so impressive is the number of them who are involved in their school arts programs -- 26 in total.

Among the winners this year are student musicians -- several of whom were selected for countywide and statewide ensembles -- as well as visual artists, and those studying computer graphics and architectural design.

This should come as no surprise. Research shows that students involved in the arts score higher on standardized tests and show greater achievement in science and math. Students of the arts go on to careers not only in the arts, but into science, medicine, law and education.

While Long Island school arts programs are strongly supported by our communities, it is alarming that the arts are being pushed out of school curricula all over the state. The inordinate amount of test-taking is taking more time away from the ability to cultivate students' creativity. Because of funding pressures, districts have been forced to make the difficult decision to reduce unmandated classes, including the arts.

The arts provide students with self-confidence, creative problem-solving, the ability to critique work, and teamwork and time management skills. According to business leaders, these skills are all needed for 21st century employment.

John J. Gallagher, Middle Island

Editor's note: The writer is the Longwood school district's director of fine and applied arts.

Will my child's grades suffer when he's "pulled out for lessons? NO!

In this study, data indicate that “students did not suffer negative academic effects when compared to students of similar academic capability who remained in the classroom. We can also conclude that the overall Ohio Proficiency Test performance of the students who participated in string pull-out lessons was better than the performance of the students of similar ability who did not participate in the string program.

When string students are excused from their classrooms for string class, they are not leaving instruction. They are moving to another classroom in a different area of the building.  The concepts taught in string [lessons] go far beyond pitch and rhythm.
(1995 results of the Ohio Proficiency Test (OPT) given to fourth-grade students in Hamilton, Ohio)

“'Pull-Outs', the label attached to these elementary instrumental classes, have been the object of criticism from non-music school personnel for years. In a recent study, interpretation of the data shows that the elementary instrumental program is not harmful to students' academic growth, even if these students are "pull out" of classes considered basic.

This conclusion from the statement from our statistician was: "Students in the instrumental music program appear to have as good or better academic growth (development) in Reading and Math as the District as a whole. A strong case can be made that it is, in fact, superior growth!” (David Circle, Shawnee Mission, Kansas)

 Organized music lessons appear to benefit children's IQ and academic performance--and the longer the instruction continues, the larger the effect, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Educational Psychology (Vol. 98, No. 2).

  "Study in the arts can help students to pay better attention in school due to structural brain changes created when the students were engaged in practicing their art form.  When students pick up an instrument and practice a tricky passage, they are not merely improving their solo. They are also developing a high level of concentration that will aid them when they are working on their next algebra problem."

M. Posner, University of Oregon, 2008.

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