As the refugee crisis continues to expand, and as families seeking political asylum depart from Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, communities across the United States and elsewhere look for ways to welcome them to their new homes.
One way that has proven successful is through music education.
A program in Connecticut has welcomed refugee students – ranging from second grade to ninth grade – into a program teaching violin.
Connecticut’s public radio station, WNPR, produced a moving audio story about this program, and about the positive impacts such studies have had for these children:
As this story shows, the study of music – in this case, group lessons like the Cincinnati group music lessons we offer at Toedtman – assists with social and emotional issues. The shared experience of accomplishing an artistic goal, a goal that transcends language, can forge connections between people meeting for the first time.
For these young people learning new languages and, in many cases, new social customs, having a shared space where they can experiment with sound is remarkably healing. Playing games and hanging out together is part of it; another part is having a solo path to follow. Times spent in solitude can be spent learning new techniques on the instrument, and in improving one’s tone and reading skills. Time that might have been lonely can be focused on the joy of creating beautiful sounds.
Music brings people together!