Creating art matters: Memorial students talk fine arts

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Whether its orchestra, band, choir, or visual art, fine arts programs can have a positive impact on a student’s life and are a key component in improving learning throughout all academic areas.

Take, for instance, Nihanna Vega, an eighth-grade student at Memorial Middle School.

“In fifth grade, I did some research and found that playing a musical instrument helps with brain development, school, and just helps you see the world a little differently,” says Vega.

She says her experience playing the double bass in her school’s orchestra has contributed to her success as a student and musician, all while teaching her a thing or two about self-discipline.

“It takes hard work. Outside of school, I practice on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays for about three about hours.”

This year she earned first chair in the All-Region band, and taking advantage of every opportunity, Vega recently joined the UTB orchestra after her being referred by her private tutor.

“I think I’ve advanced a lot. I recently joined the UTB orchestra, and it’s great because I get to play music with college students.”

Just like with a sports team, for any musical group to be effective, all players must work harmoniously towards a single goal.

Christian Cavazos, an eight-grade band student, has learned that it is critical for all members of the group to support each other and be in sync when playing a piece of music.

“Keeping time is crucial, or else one section might come in too late, or part of the band might come in too early,” he says. “It’s hard to fix a mistake like that when you have 50-plus students each playing an instrument.”

The fine arts also provide learners with added benefits such as promoting self-esteem, motivation, aesthetic awareness, cultural exposure, creativity, as well as social harmony and appreciation of diversity.

Although students in the fine arts are sometimes part of a larger unit, participating in these programs often helps them find their voice and gives them the opportunity to make something their own.

Kayla Atkinson, an eighth-grader at Memorial, has always enjoyed singing and was happy to learn that she could join a group where she could share and grow in her vocal abilities.

“I love choir. It’s a place where I get to express my emotions through my voice,” says Atkinson. “Sometimes if I’m having a stressful day, I could just sing, and it makes me feel better.”

For eighth-grade student Heaven Macias, the path to self-expression is a little different. She is learning to perfect her drawing skills in art class.

“I’m learning about lines, shading, and perspective,” she says. “My favorite thing to do in art is Zentangle, an abstract, patterned drawing method because I’ve always liked to doodle.”

Macias says art is something she can’t get enough of.

“I draw a lot during my free time, and I can’t wait to change my wall into a blackboard so I can draw on it and surround myself with art.”

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