Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Sarah Southard, Music

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It is important to implement and maintain a music program within an urban school containing a high population of at-risk students. With the awareness of mental illness increasing, we are more knowledgeable of the cognitive deficits caused by ongoing abuse and neglect--often called complex trauma. The effects music can have on the brain combats the negative cognitive and emotional impacts of complex trauma, which is essentially the goal of music therapy. Not every child has the opportunity and/or means to experience music therapy. However, if music programs are offered in schools, kids can reap the positive benefits of music by participating in their school’s program. The role of the teacher as well as the type of music studied in school can have incredibly positive impacts on the student(s) as well. In order to reach the full potential of the positive effects of music, the teacher needs to take time to get to know and invest in their students. Additionally, they need to be willing to be creative and flexible with the curriculum. This might mean turning to nontraditional genres, including hip hop or rap. There is no formula for the perfect music program in an urban setting, but what is important is that one is implemented and shaped in a way that will best benefit the students and their well-being.