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Study shows “Do Re Me” having positive impact

A new report shows that the Do Re Me arts program is making a difference for young students in Acadiana.

Led by the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra and Conservatory, Do Re Me is a music curriculum for children in preschool and kindergarten. Currently, the program takes place for 30 minutes a week at Truman Early Childhood Center in Lafayette, as well as several elementary schools in Acadia Parish.

The 2014 impact report shows that students who participate in Do Re Me have performed better on kindergarten readiness tests in math, language and printing. For students above the 50th percentile, Do Re Me students had the largest growth in the area of language.

The results were even more significant for students below the 50th percentile, or those who tend to struggle more in schools. Students in Do Re Me in those percentiles performed up to 10 percent better on kindergarten readiness tests that children who were not in the music education program.

Overall, the study, which was done with the assistance of the Picard Center, showed a bigger difference in test results among students in the lower percentiles. That indicates that Do Re Me appears to be having a more significant impact on students who often have more academic difficulties.

“We knew it would probably have a greater impact on those who were in the lower percentiles, but we didn’t realize how much,” said ASO Executive Director Jenny Krueger.

In Do Re Me, students use musical items for literacy tasks, set texts to tempo to learn the rhythm of words and language and use musical notations to learn math skills. Educators also teach students about different cultures and musical styles.

Krueger said the program uses hands-on activities to help reinforce lessons the children are already receiving.

“What this curriculum does is really bring in those activities at a much younger age, while adding the creative part,” she said. “We knew in our hearts this was working, but to actually see the numbers is extremely exciting. Another thing we talked about is that this is a low dose of the curriculum, at 30 minutes a week. Can you imagine what the results would be for 30 minutes a day? We are kind of doing the minimum, and seeing the results gives us a lot of hope that with a little more, we could do a lot more.”

The ASO would like to eventually expand the program’s scope and the number of schools involved. In the immediate future, Krueger said the organization is trying to focus on bringing Do Re Me to J.W. Faulk Elementary, the lowest-performing elementary school in Lafayette Parish.

However, Krueger said there are still financial issues associated with bringing the program to Faulk, but officials are hopeful.

“Looking at the data, it is even more convincing to us that that is where we need to be,” she said. “What we have always known is that we need to be where students struggle the most. We think it would be a great program for those students.”

Article by Amanda McElfresh, Article posted in The Advertiser, January 9, 2015