Method

Start Young. Integrate Arts.

STEAM over STEM

Our philosophy: A PLACE FOR THE ARTS

 

  • In school

  • After school

  • At home

“Learning music is a birthright. And you have to start young.”

Sir Simon Rattle

Conductor

Studies show that starting piano or violin lessons prior to age 7 causes permanent changes to the brain that are linked to better motor skills.

Journal of Neuroscience

January 2013

Arts education is an essential part of a child’s development.

The following data portrays the comparison of students of a low socio economic status (SES) in schools with low arts compared to low SES students with high arts.

arts education improves math scores

arts education improves writing scores

arts education increases participation in extracurricular activities

arts education increases participation in physical activities

arts education leads to civic engagement

arts education leads to participation in political campaigns

arts education leads to higher four-year college completion rate

arts education leads to college success

STEAMing to the Core

The Scarsdale Strings Blog

Using Music to Think Creatively

Creativity and Its Importance Those who are able to think outside the box are the innovators and the problem solvers shaping society. Designing technology, producing culture, finding solutions – all require a unique and inventive perspective to build on what has been previously developed. In today’s society, being a creative thinker is one of the most valuable traits you can possess. New jobs are constantly emerging, meaning innovative thinking is all the more critical- it translates into any situation. In order to succeed in a dynamic environment, it is necessary that you think creatively. Are We Born Creative? While many adults would deny that they themselves fit the description “creative”, it is largely theorized that these same people do in fact start out with a creative mindset. The capacity to learn and understand is innate in childhood and translates as a need to create and disassemble for comprehension. At the age of five a child is operating at 80% of their creative capacity, while a child at the age of 12 is using around 2% of that. Instead of using their creativity, children are encouraged to focus on the routine memorization that is required in a traditional education setting. How to Foster Your Creativity It is apparent that we are all born with an instinctive sense of creativity that comes from seeking to understand the world. Yet, when this is not being fostered, that mindset begins to grow stale with age. What music and art programs such as Scarsdale Strings offer is an environment to cultivate the creative mindset through alternative means of experimentation. The Effects of Music on... read more

Music to the Dogs: The Restorative Power of Canines and Rabbits

On May 14th, Scarsdale Strings is piloting the first ever ‘Music to the Dogs’ event with Bideawee at Manhattan School for Children. ‘Music to the Dogs’ is a unique modification to Bideawee’s existing program ‘Reading to the Dogs’ (RTD). RTD was conceptualized to enhance literacy by inviting children to read to canines since they are an inherently nonjudgmental audience. Scarsdale Strings has extended this program to create ‘Music to the Dogs’ for students who are first time performers and may be apprehensive about performing in front of a live audience. The students of the Manhattan School for Children will be performing as a part of the Scarsdale Strings District Orchestra at a Celebration of Learning event for the Chancellor and superintendents of New York City public schools this June.  At our core we believe in linking creativity with service. We hope that through this program our students learn something about giving back. So we asked our volunteers the same question- what made them give their time through therapy dogs? Their stories are heartening. When Christine adopted a two year Labrador named Klecko, she instantly knew that Klecko’s silently observant disposition was ideal for a therapy dog. Klecko’s mere presence and gentle nudges with her wet nose helped an eight year old autistic patient come out of her shell. This made Christine think about the reason she joined the therapy team at Bideawee. It was because therapy dogs helped her own mother- a cancer patient-cope with her illness. Thomas Tulipan saw similar traits in his dog Nephertiti. He just knew that she had the makings of a therapy dog. Nephertiti,... read more

Teachers on Tour: Elizabeth Derham

To motivate and empower a classroom, teachers must be motivated and empowered as well. This is only possible with a balanced schedule and most of our instructors, at their core, are both teachers and performers. Scarsdale Strings believes in nurturing our teachers’ skills as artists and performers, encouraging them to bring these skills into their classrooms to foster a dynamic community. It is remarkable to see the kind of connections our instructors make when they are on tour.  Elizabeth Derham, a Scarsdale Strings music teacher at Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School, toured with A Far Cry this April.  A Far Cry is an eighteen piece democratically run chamber orchestra based in Boston.  The three day tour took the artists to Castleton College in Vermont and Dumbarton Oaks in Washington D.C. What made this a unique experience for Derham is the way the group is run. “Each artistic voice is treasured and we are encouraged to try out new ideas,” she says. For example, a part of Mozart’s Divertimento could be interpreted in different ways. The artists were encouraged to investigate their interpretation and each suggestion was attempted by the entire group before coming to a consensus. “When you work together on music, there is so much going on in your mind and heart that you have to consciously work together to chisel the excess,” says Derham. She explains that to do this, artists must be good listeners and forward thinkers. They must work on presenting their own ideas while listening closely to the ideas of others to find a way to collaborate. They must also plan ahead to... read more

Exploring the value of arts education with Nuyorican Poets Cafe

What does education mean to you? We asked this question to our talented students at P.S. 65 and they came up with the most innovative answers. After some discussion and brainstorming they reached a consensus- Education means to learn and to learn we must make mistakes. They are now working on a composition based on the theme of “Making mistakes” which will go viral during the ‘Arts In Schools’ month, in May 2015. Poets from the Nuyorican Poets Café will be responding to our video with original spoken word poetry. The students in our PS 65 after school program are a mixed group of 25 selected students from kindergarten to grade five. Kindergarten students practice the violin and first graders work on percussion instruments. Grades two and three work on chorus, while grades four and five practice the guitar or keyboard or work on computer music. These students have worked as an ensemble, using their diverse skill sets to craft this composition with guidance from their Scarsdale Strings instructor Christopher Celiz. Arts education is alluring for students because while technique needs to be taught and honed, the arts can be used as a base to foster creativity. With the arts, making mistakes isn’t seen as a failure but a pathway to innovation. By nurturing this mindset, Scarsdale Strings prepares its students to conquer any field they choose. Our students agree with this and we let them speak for themselves- this campaign is a... read more

Arts In Schools Month

Scarsdale Strings is launching the ‘Arts in Schools’ month in May 2015. This is our way of celebrating and appreciating arts education with our partner schools. Scarsdale Strings not only integrates the Arts into STEM, but consolidates the Arts with the wider community. During this month we will be running viral campaigns with Nuyorican Poets Cafe and Bideawee Animal Shelter. The ‘Arts in Schools’ month is one of involvement, engagement and advocacy. We intend to use this month to immerse students, parents, teachers, educators and advocates in the world of arts education. We will have interactive badges that are designed to spark conversation about the value of arts education programs. We will be featuring sound bites from celebrities about the impact of arts education. Our partners and prospective teachers will get a glimpse into the world of our highly qualified instructors. Student opinions will find space on our website. Parents can also look to us for tips on how to be our at home motivating partner. Our education blog will run beyond May; during the ‘Arts In Schools’ month we will feature innovative ways we work with our partner schools to strengthen the arts and contribute towards whole school... read more

What do the arts mean to you?

We are all aware of the reasons why the arts are so important. Research has come at the issue from different angles- academic, social, socio-emotional, neurobiological. Arts in schools help scaffold students into concepts beyond the arts classroom. The beauty of the arts is that while it is skill based it is also observational and interpretative. It cultivates a confident voice within students. It gives them a goal to work towards and teaches them to collaborate while developing their own style. Arts in the public space help the audience experience another perspective, a different culture, and another’s vision. It increases the livability of a city and simultaneously increases our standard of living. It changes the way we socialize. The challenge is in the way the arts are linked in education and in the public sphere. The education sphere is expected to generate students who seek performance or art making careers for the public sphere to thrive. Thus, arts education programs are perceived to be geared towards developing only these performance talents. This compels arts education organizations to focus on developing career oriented skills which becomes a challenge since the arts aren’t seen as a conventional career choice. Scarsdale Strings has been able to rise above the challenge of changing attitudes, national standards and budget constraints. While we hone the performance talents of our students we emphasize on integrating the arts to teach concepts in science, math and literacy. The arts build a holistic community and in that vein we teach the arts as a community rooted discipline. Our model is inclusive and curricula are STEAM based- we assimilate special... read more