Ample research demonstrates the multiple benefits that regular exposure to music education provides for children of all ages: improved attention, memory, focus, auditory and memory skills, and overall cognition. Yet, too often, budget cuts squeeze music education funding, forcing schools to pare down or eliminate music classes altogether for school-aged children. St. James Academy in Monkton, however, is bucking this trend. In recent years, their music and performance arts offerings have increased in number and scope due to the quality of the St. James program, creating life-long music enthusiasts and confident performers.
Much of the credit for St. James’ strong performing arts program stems from a supportive administration and extensively trained faculty who not only teach but also perform professionally. Director of Performing Arts and vocal music teacher Randi Martin, who holds a master’s degree in music education from Loyola University, a certification in YogaVoice® Technique, and additional training in the Alexander Technique, Vocal-Cross Training, Orff, and Gordon Music Learning Theory, sees the performing arts as much more than a dispensable academic elective. At St. James, the extensive performing arts program includes courses in dance/movement, Orff for percussionists, wind and string instruction, plus three musicals.