Students playing Orff instruments and wearing

Eight Dayton Public Schools receive music grants totaling more than $160,000

By Alex Kincaid

Dayton Public Schools elementary students will have the opportunity to play xylophones, metallophones, glockenspiels and even ukeleles in their music classes thanks to grants that will help DPS continue its Orff-Schulwerk initiative. 

The Save The Music Foundation has awarded “Intro to Music Grants” to eight DPS elementary schools this year. The grants total to more than $160,000 in musical instruments, program support, professional development and monitoring services for the next ten years.

A ceremony to celebrate the grants was held in September at Roosevelt Elementary. Students performed two songs on the Orff instruments and gave testimonials about their passion for music and their appreciation to the Save The Music Foundation.

Intro to Music Grants are awarded to public school districts that are investing in and see the value of music education, according to the Save The Music Foundation. Since its inception in 1997, more than $58 million worth of musical instruments has been donated to schools across the country. At this time, the Dayton Public Schools have received more of these grants than any other district in the country.

The schools receiving Intro to Music Grants include Charity Adams Earley Girls Academy, Cleveland Elementary, Edison Elementary, Fairview Elementary, Horace Mann Elementary, Kemp Elementary, River’s Edge Montessori and Roosevelt Elementary.

By investing in music education, the Dayton Public Schools believe students will achieve more in the classroom and in all areas of their lives.

Orff-Schulwerk is a music philosophy that involves speaking, singing, moving and playing. It makes music engaging and fun, and even increases academic achievement, improves student attendance and helps students develop lifelong skills. All DPS elementary music classes incorporate this philosophy into the classroom.

In addition to enhancing the elementary music curriculum, DPS revived its band program in 2017 after a ten-year lapse. By developing an interest in music in elementary school, the district fully expects interest in middle and high school band and choir programs to grow as well.

To support middle and high school must program growth, Yamaha Corporation of America donated $100,000-worth of instruments —  24 timpani and five marching french horns — in the spring of 2019. These instruments now benefit students at Dunbar, Thurgood, and Belmont High Schools and Wright Brothers, Wogaman and Edwin Joel Brown Middle Schools. 

DPS has been changing for the better over the last several years. A thriving arts program that can inspire students and allow them to express themselves is an essential aspect of that change, and It is not too late for students to get involved. If students are interested in participating in middle or high school band or choir, they should contact their school’s band director. 

The Dayton Public School District also invites the Dayton community to support students’ interest in the arts by attending student performances this school year. The largest performance — All-City Arts Fest — will be held in early May at Five Rivers Metroparks. Elementary choirs will show off their singing skills and middle and high school bands will perform a selection of songs they have been practicing all year. All are welcome to attend this free event.