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December 18, 2007

Even as Attention to 'No Child' Law Squeezes Class Time, Teachers in Manassas Champion the Value of Music

Valerie Strauss:

Seventh-grader Jessica Dodson walked into class and yanked Eric Clapton from the wall -- the guitar, not the guitarist. Classmate Corey Cook already had Carlos Santana cradled in his lap, plucking out E-minor, C and G chords.

"On the C chord, I'm hearing some funky sounds," teacher Darlene Dawson said after her 17 students at Metz Middle School in Manassas played "Eleanor Rigby" in unison. She played along with the students, having taken up the guitar just a few months ago.

This isn't the kind of music class Dawson, a teacher for 25 years, is used to teaching. Or the kind students are accustomed to attending. Or what most students in U.S. schools are offered.

The elective class at Metz -- with guitars named after guitarists -- is being given as music education programs across the country are facing difficult times. Despite research showing that students who study music have better attendance, achievement and lifetime earnings, music classes are struggling to survive.

Kevin Carey has more.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at December 18, 2007 12:00 AM
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