Children in Pasadena are learning to play instruments, sing and dance. The classroom is enjoying the benefits of a high-quality arts education after bringing Bloom Arts Foundation’s music and dance program to their school. 

When you walk into the music classroom at Friends Western School you will see children happily focusing their attention on the instrument before them, listening to the teacher’s instruction about tempo. While their faces might be looking up, their hands seem to know how to follow the rhythm on their ukuleles, drums and hand claps. Once they have mastered the beat, they smile knowing that something magic has happened:  they have created music together. 

Friends Western School (FWS) is located in Pasadena, California.  In Fall 2021 FWS began partnering with the Bloom Arts Foundation to incorporate Music and Dance classes into their school curriculum. ‘At our school, we really value Arts programs, we have very robust visual arts programs, and performance and music was something that was lacking, so we knew we needed to fill that hole,’ says Sean Burke, Friends Western School’s Head of School. 

Classroom-Arts-EducationThe Bloom Arts Foundation’s Teacher Cole goes to FWS on Friday Mornings to teach 3 different groups of kids. Each group has around 20 children who spend 30 minutes exploring the beauty of music and dance. “Friends Western School is a wonderful community of thoughtful educators and involved families that really understand the value of music and movement in early childhood”, explains Radhika Fliegel, Bloom Arts Foundation’s Co-Founder. 

Joining the Bloom Arts Foundation classroom

One of their student’s families mentioned the Bloom Arts Foundation and that it could be a good fit for FWS.  After a trial, FWS was convinced by the philosophy, teaching methods, curriculum and the teacher’s professionalism. ‘It’s really the gold standard of music instruction’, comments Burke. 

From the first day that Bloom Arts Foundation started teaching children at Friends Western School about music, they were drumming and strumming ukuleles. The experience so far has been described by Burke as ‘phenomenal’, after seeing kids and teachers loving the program equally. 

Helping children’s education through art

The teachers have also seen their students improve in other areas beyond music and dance. Teacher Lee, who has a background in Theatre Studies, teaches the second and third grade and believes that ‘music is really a great opportunity to express themselves in a way that they wouldn’t normally do in the classroom’.

‘Since starting their music program here, I’ve noticed a confidence in the classroom and a collaboration’, explains Teacher Lee. She has also noticed improvements during students’ public presenting. 

‘I really view arts as an equalizer to a community that you don’t have to be good at Math, or faster or anything like that. You just have to come and learn and be present and especially with the African drumming that my class was doing. There is nobody who is a master in African drumming, and we all are learning, and that is something that I try to teach: that we are all learners, and we are growing and getting better,’ explains Teacher Lee. 

Music has proven to be a common language for humankind. Creating music is not only about making art from singing and tapping to the beat. It builds skills that have lifelong benefits, such as  children discovering the power of collaborating -crucial for building equal, compassionate and peaceful communities.

by Rosario Aran