DINGESS – Daily music class taught at Dingess Elementary allows students to reap benefits that extend beyond music instruction.
At Dingess, daily music class involves lessons in music theory, history, singing and dancing. The school also has a key board orchestra that will be playing at a number of events throughout the school year.
According to the National Association for Music Education, a rich musical education provides students with benefits that extend across the curriculum and helps promote good self-esteem. An article posted on the website lists 20 benefits of music in schools. Benefits listed on the list state that musical training helps develop language and reasoning, mastery of memorization, increased pattern recognition and creating thinking. The list also states that musical education allows students to develop self-confidence; increases intellectual curiosity and can lead to higher SAT scores.
J. Alan Riffle serves as Music Teacher / Keyboard Orchestra Director at Dingess Elementary as well as Assistant Band Director at Tug Valley High School. Riffle explained the music education program and the keyboard orchestra. Most recently, the key board orchestra played at the Mingo County Board of Education LSIC meeting held at Tug Valley High School.
“The keyboard orchestra that you saw is drawn from the 3rd and 4th grade students at Dingess Elementary. This year, I’m trying to have them perform more in the community (such as at the LSIC meeting) and different regional and state events. These include the WVMEA Region II Solo and Ensemble Festival at Marshall University, and the WVMEA X Ensemble Competition. I believe we will also be playing a couple of places in December, including the Southside Mall in Williamson and the Town Center mall in Charleston. They will perform, as the group has in past years, at Mingo County Arts Alive at Mingo Central High School in March,” Riffle stated.
Riffle further explained the program stating, “The students have become very musically advanced for elementary school students because they get music class every day all year long. They don’t rotate between music and other fine arts, as occurs in most other schools; the classroom teachers teach the other fine arts and physical education. This allows us to cover a lot of material, and get music notation reading skills happening consistently a lot earlier than most places are able to, simply because of the schedule. All students at Dingess learn to play the piano to some degree, whether or not they are in the keyboard orchestra. They also study music theory, music history, singing, and dancing as espoused in the W.Va. state music standards.”
Riffle explained that the success of the program is made possible in part by scheduling and administrative support. “With this great schedule and very supportive principals, including Don Spence and Dr. Doug Ward, we have really been able to have the music program blossom at Dingess Elementary. I really love teaching there and feel very lucky that I stumbled on this job straight out of college – I had no idea it would be so fulfilling,” Riffle said.
For more information on music education visit www.nafme.org.