Sutherlin High School Brings Back Instrumental Music Program

Mike Lawson • ChoralNews • December 14, 2015

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The Sutherlin School District is now offering an instrumental music program for students from seventh to 12th grades for the first time in nearly a decade.

A full-time music program was active about eight years ago in the district, but because of budget cuts and attrition, the instrumental program was dropped while the choral program was maintained by a half-time teacher.
In recent years, neighboring bands were invited to play at sporting events, while a community volunteer headed an after-school band club.
“One of our priorities in the district was to bring music back,” said Sutherlin High School Principal Justin Huntley. “They’ve done research study after research study that talks about music as the only subject where you use both sides of your brain at the same time.”
Huntley said that studies have also shown that music involvement increases math scores, so he has been in full support of bringing back a full-time music program during his five years as principal at the high school.
A slow improvement in the district’s budget in recent years, combined with community and school board support, has allowed the district to hire a full-time music teacher.
In her first year at the Sutherlin district, music instructor Melissa Jmaeff is now teaching the middle school band and choir, along with the high school band, choir and guitar.
“We are very excited to be making instrumental music together again,” Jmaeff said.

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