Music, and specifically playing an instrument, has innumerable positive effects on the brain.

Check out this video from TedEd for a quick overview on the science:

Soundscapes works hard to back up these claims with data. A generous grant from the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters Foundation supported the development of a customized evaluation tool by Dr. David Dirlam, a nationally recognized specialist in learning assessment methodologies. Dr. Dirlam created a rubric to measure each student’s progress along nine separate musical and behavioral dimensions. In addition, he designed a parent survey to assess family expectations and results at the start and end of each school year. Also, thanks to our partnership with Newport News Public Schools, we have access to data on economics, demographics, disabilities, attendance, behavior infractions, and SOL passing rates for our students. This allows us to understand and evaluate the whole child in context.

Using these tools, Soundscapes can confirm that we are achieving our goal of providing value to students in both behavioral and musical skills.

As this chart shows, students living in poverty start out behind their peers, but after time in the program, the achievement gap is eliminated.

This chart indicates that social/behavioral growth is happening at nearly the same rate as musical growth, showing that Soundscapes is successfully teaching life skills through music education.

If you are interested in learning more about Soundscapes’ curriculum and rubric, contact Program Director Rey Ramirez at rramirez@soundscapeshr.org