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2008 Essay Scholarship Winners

Mike Lawson • Features • February 9, 2011

SUBJECT: “Dear Mr. President, I am writing to tell you why music is so important to my complete education…”

The following ten students are recipients of the 2008 essay scholarship, “Dear Mr. President, I am writing to tell you why music is so important to my complete education…”

Each student will receive a $1,000 scholarship award from SCHOOL BAND AND ORCHESTRA and co-sponsors, Alfred Publishing, SupportMusic.com, Hershey Fund Raising, National Association of Music Merchants, Yamaha Corporation of American, Music For All and Avedis Zildjian Co.

Check this web-site September 1, 2008 for a new essay scholarship. To the many thousands of students who entered the essay contest, and to their music directors, we thank you.

SCHOOL BAND AND ORCHESTRA. Sidney Davis sdavis@symphonypublishing.com Group Publisher

Symphony Publishing School Band and Orchestra

21 Highland Circle, Suite 1 Needham MA 02494. Tel: 800-964-5150 Extension 13 Fax: 781-453-9389

2008 Essay Scholarship Winners

Jiaan Burford Doniphan High School Doniphan, MO Grade: 9 Age: 14

Jordan DeBord Owsley County High School Booneville, KY Grade: 12 Age: 17

Luz Tur-Sinai Gozal Meyzeek Middle School Louisville, KY Grade: 8 Age: 13

Meredith A. Hoey St. Andrew’s Middle School Charleston, SC Grade: 7 Age: 12

Alana Hux Lux Middle School Lincoln, NE Grade: 7 Age: 12

Maria Konidaris Five Forks Middle School Lawrenceville, GA Grade: 8 Age: 14

Benjamin Lei Arlington Middle School Poughkeepsie, NY Grade: 6 Age: 12

Kyle Steinkerchner Wadsworth High School Wadsworth, OH Grade: 12 Age: 17

Michelle L. Zint Lexington High School Lexington, SC Grade: 12 Age: 17

Issac Zuckerman South High School Minneapolis, MN Grade: 11 Age: 16 SBO ESSAY SUBMISSION (10 essays )

  • Jiaan Burford
  • Doniphan High School
  • Doniphan, MO
  • Grade: 9
  • Age: 14

Essay:

 

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing to tell you why music is so important to my complete education. I feel music helps us to communicate better with others. Music is a language all understand. In music we learn that through hard work we can master a skill and achieve success. It also teaches us the benefits of teamwork to achieve goals. When you play an instrument you have to change the rhythm, tempo and tone on a continuing basis. This helps you become good at organizing and paying better attention to details. When we take these skills and apply them to our other classes, we have the benefit of better work habits and this leads to better grades. By being involved in music through band I have learned to not be afraid to take risks and try new things. Music makes me think. It challenges me to work harder not only in band but in my other classes as well. Music has helped me be more self-confident. It has increased my feelings of self-worth. I have a lot more confidence in my abilities. Music helps you to understand people and cultures. It has a way of bringing people together. Music has been a part of our culture for many years. It soothes feelings and clears the minds. Music is about communication, cooperation and creativity. If we study music we can enrich these skills, and in this way we become better citizens and hopefully build a better world in which to live.

  • Jordan DeBord
  • Owsley County High School
  • Booneville, KY
  • Grade: 12
  • Age: 17

Essay:

 

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing to tell you why music is so important to my complete education. I live in Owsley County, Kentucky, one of the poorest counties in the United States (as reported by 60 Minutes) and there is very little for the youth in our community to do. But, three years ago our high school principal started a music program called Kids on Stage at our high school. Since we did not have a band or an orchestra at our school, the Kids on Stage program has given every student a chance to be involved in music, either by playing an instrument, singing, learning to use recording equipment, stage lighting and much more. Thanks to the Kids on Stage program, I now play lead guitar and bass guitar in two different bands and recently performed for the East Regional Governor’s Conference. Music has opened doors for me and my friends that we didn’t know were possible. As I graduate and continue my education, I know that music will continue to be a big part of my life.

  • Luz Tur-Sinai Gozal
  • Meyzeek Middle School
  • Louisville, KY
  • Grade: 8
  • Age: 13

Essay:

 

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing to tell you why music is so important to complete my education.

One year and a half ago, I had to leave behind my fist violin—my dearest friend. You see, my mother and I were about to start a new life leaving Spain to become residents in the United States.

Sooner than I had imagined, I was attending both orchestra and band classes at Meyzeek Middle School. No tears or regrets since then.

I speak four different languages and the more I play, the more I understand why music is the real universal language. There is no need for a passport to cross boundaries, just the willingness of enjoying new frontiers.

I firmly believe that pursuing my musical education will enable me to master any cultural challenge.

I am presently in the process of deciding a path for my future education and I want music to be “the” part of it. I know that music is helping me to become the responsible, positive and sharing adult I want to be.

  • Meredith A. Hoey
  • St. Andrew’s Middle School
  • Charleston, SC
  • Grade: 7
  • Age: 12

Essay:

 

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing to tell you why music is so important to my complete education. Before I took music lessons, I had a hard time making friends because I was so shy. However, music has helped me learn how to interact with students my own age, I have learned the lessons of friendship and teamwork and that has carried over into my other classes. My newfound friends and I have worked together in putting the music pieces together and we have great fun. I even have more confidence in myself.

The band performs the year for school, family and friends, because of this I am no longer afraid of performing in front of people. This has helped me to participate in classroom discussions and now I actually have fun in school. My grades in all of my classes have improved because I am a part of the class and learning faster than before. Since I have been taking music in school, I have been promoted to honors programs for all my other classes. I am able to concentrate better and follow along with even the hardest things we learn. Music has made me realize how much going to school and learning new things can be it has brought everything together and has made my life happier and better.

  • Alana Hux
  • Lux Middle School
  • Lincoln, NE
  • Grade: 7
  • Age: 12

Essay:

 

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing to tell you why music is so important to my complete education. Music has been essential to my well-being throughout pre-school, elementary school, and middle school. When my mother adopted me from a Chinese orphanage, I was almost three and did not know English. Because my mother did not speak Chinese, we needed a means of communicating not requiring the mutual understanding of words. Our first connection was through music. Songs helped me learn English and, more importantly, helped me feel comfortable and loved. By the time I began elementary school, I had started violin lessons. Playing violin allowed me to express myself, connect with others, and master skills needed for school. My ability to concentrate, pay attention to details, and work hard to achieve goals came from my violin practicing. I use these same skills to succeed in school. Now, I play violin in orchestra and sing and play instruments in music class. Less obvious, but just as important, are the other times music is a part of my school day. For example, my math teacher uses songs to help us remember how to solve certain equations. Music and academics complement each other. Facts, rules, and formulas are the basic tools of learning, but being well-educated means using these tools in new ways. Musicians use notes and rhythms to create music, but musical masterpieces only come from their creative combination to allow personal expression. Achieving this ability is what education is all about.

  • Maria Konidaris
  • Five Forks Middle School
  • Lawrenceville, GA
  • Grade: 8
  • Age: 14

Essay:

 

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing to tell you why music is important to my complete education. Music helps develop physical enhancements, like hand eye coordination, refined motor coordination, multi-tasking, and listening skills. Music also helps brain enhancements. Self discipline, patience, details, effort, and respect are only a few. Community awareness is another thing affected by music. Music helps group effort and cooperation and community involvement. Music helps me in science, because it helps me understand pitch and sound. Music helps me mostly in language arts with visual training, reading skills, eye tracking and actual reading time. Studies have proven that kids that play an instrument or have some musical class score higher on tests.

  • Benjamin Lei
  • Arlington Middle School
  • Poughkeepsie, NY
  • Grade: 6
  • Age: 12

Essay:

 

I am writing to tell you why music is so important to my complete education. Learning to play the violin and piano in the last seven years has definitely enhanced my self-confidence, organizational, and memorization skills. These traits help me be successful, both academically and socially. As a violinist, I have been selected as a finalist in a Concerto Competition and was first chair in the All-County Musical Festival. These events have provided me with opportunities to perform in front of a large audience, therefore helping me develop confidence and self-assurance. These are abilities essential for leadership roles, such as giving class presentations or speeches. In order for me to become a good young musician, I need to memorize the piece bar-by-bar and look ahead to plan for the upcoming notes, accidentals, and rhythms. As a result of this musical training, my memorization and organizational skills have tremendously improved. I am capable of studying for tests in a short period of time. Furthermore, I am able to manage my busy school schedule, music lessons, and volunteer work effectively. I also play the violin and piano at local nursing homes. I feel very fortunate to be able to share my musical talent with others. Giving back to the community in the form of music is a key component to fulfill my complete education. Music is not only part of the school’s curriculum, but it also has a very significant, positive influence on my education.

  • Kyle Steinkerchner
  • Wadsworth High School
  • Wadsworth, OH
  • Grade: 12
  • Age: 17

Essay:

 

I am writing to tell you why music is so important to my complete education. I have played the alto saxophone since the 5th grade. Although I wasn’t always willing to practice in the beginning years, I developed a love for music since and have sat first chair throughout high school. I have learned numerous life lessons while playing in the band like patience, perseverance, and time management. While memorizing our marching band music and drills, I challenged myself everyday. While playing college level music in symphonic band, the challenges continue. I made several close friends in the course of high school, many of which are in band. We spent numerous hours together working on relationships, dealing with adversity, celebrating little victories, and strengthening our weaknesses to be the best we can be. Having music in my life has made me a better person. I am able to use all the skills I learned and apply them to all my classes and in my everyday life. I have taken several Honors and AP courses, while enduring a rigorous band schedule, and still maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA. When I get frustrated, I take some time and play my saxophone (or guitar) to clear my thoughts. I use the time management skills I learned to plan ahead on school projects. Music has positively prepared me for college and for life. I truly believe it should be a part of everyone’s high school experience.

  • Michelle L. Zint
  • Lexington High School
  • Lexington, SC
  • Grade: 12
  • Age: 17

Essay:

 

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing to tell you why music is so important to my complete education. I am currently a senior in high school, and I am ranked sixth in my class and have been named a National Merit Semifinalist. I attribute these successes largely to the presence of music in my education. I have been a member of my school’s orchestra for six years now, and the skills and life lessons I have acquired through this participation have not only played a large part in my success in school, but I am sure that they will continue to be invaluable for the rest of my life. I’ve learned self-discipline: the days when I have to force myself to sacrifice my time and practice have cultivated in me the ability to complete essays and other school assignments when I would much rather procrastinate. I’ve learned motivation: the drive to work out a difficult passage of music in order to have a flawless performance has similarly appeared in my schoolwork, pushing me to do everything to the best of my ability so that I can be proud of the final product. I’ve learned teamwork: the communication, critique, and commitment that are required in orchestras and especially smaller ensembles are also necessary for any group project or partner exercise that I encounter in the classroom. Music has granted me these characteristics and so many more, and my classroom successes are proof of its incredible advantages and definite importance to education.

  • Issac Zuckerman
  • South High School
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Grade: 11
  • Age: 16

Essay:

 

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing to tell you why music is so important to my complete education. I believe that band is not merely an elective, but a course that teaches people how to live together. Literally and metaphorically, music is simply another language, but more. It teaches teamwork, leadership, open-mindedness, respect, and mostly, joy.

In a band, music is not the only beauty being produced. Each section and member has their own responsibility. The woodwinds provide the moving melody while the horns provide the supportive backgrounds. Brass gives rich harmonies; percussion is the backbone. The soloist enriches his or her colleagues by creating ideas formed by the group’s ability to generate what is now wonderful music.

Each section of a band uses teamwork by functioning as one and doing its idiosyncratic job, be it melody, harmony, rhythm or chord structure. Each member of the band shows leadership merely by participating and playing confidently, which verifies the articulations and dynamics that the piece is striving to portray. Every soloist summons the courage to construct his or her own work of art. Whether a solo is created in front of thousands of people, four people, or no one else, it is still unique, original, and one of the most illustrious forms of music making.

Everyone respects their fellow musicians because they are playing together and listening to—not just hearing—the band’s components. And true musicians will gain the bets part: joy.

Music is necessary for my education because ultimately it teaches me, and my fellow musicians, nothing less than co-existence.

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