Music Inspires Students to be Creative

19 June, 2013


From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.

Kid Pan Alley is a non-profit organization that holds songwriting workshops for students across the nation. The organization recently visited a school in the  Anacostia area of Washington, D.C.

The children present a concert, let's listening...


Songwriter and recording artist Paul Reisler established Kid Pan Alley in 1999, he has worked with more than 35,000 students and produced more than 2,200 songs since that time.

He says the power of music can teach children skills they would not receive in the American educational system.  He believes the system depends increasingly on standardized tests to measure success.

"We're living in a creative economy now, We're living in an economy that needs people who can imagine things and make things in their minds. Creativity is the most powerful thing that ever was....So what we're really doing is trying to inspire [kids] to be creative."

At Orr Elementary School in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, 95 percent of the students come from poor families. Marlon Ray is the school's dean of Students. He says some of the children have difficulty life situations.

"We have kids that are homeless, we have kids that are going through various challenges, living in shelters and so forth, howeven, those kids still want to strive for greatness."

Jhonna Turner, Director of Programs at the school, says the 4th and 5th grade students are often focus on more than school. They are extremely important helps for the families. She says they make sure food is ready when they come home and do other jobs for their homes. And students ofen react to what's happening around them.

A shooting from a car took place in April directly in front of the school while students were on the playground. No one was injured, but the event affected the whole school community. Mr Turner said, sometimes we say our students are going through war, even just walking off the school grounds.

Washington D.C. Police Department records say 70 violent crimes and 200 property crimes have happened within a kilometer of the school in the past year alone. But all elementary school has a positive hope for for happiness fell.

And for parents Juawawne Eaton and DeWayne Curry, Paul Reisler's music program works well in that atmosphere. They said the workshop was a good experience for the children.

Back at the workshop, Paul Reisler and Heather May encourage the students to move beyond ideas coming from television. After a wihle, a 1st grader boy also named Paul gets things started with work becomes the song "I Heard it On the Radio."


Mr. Ray, Orr's dean of Students, says the workshop and concert created positive memories that will last for years.

And from VOA Learning English, that's the Education Report. I'm Bob Doughty.