|Students at MHR will take violin|
lessons as part of the
When Thom Laux took over as principal last year at MHR, he knew the school needed to improve their arts programming.
“Although a lot of public schools are taking out arts education, we knew it was important to put it in,” said Laux.
Laux had previously worked at the Metropolitan Ministries partnership school, a school for homeless and at-risk students where the Conservatory holds outreach classes.
“It was a great partnership... the talent of the instructors, they were incredible,” said Laux.
When looking to supplement the curriculum at MHR, he said, “My goal was to get Patel because I wanted the best.”
By utilizing the resources of the Conservatory, which is an accredited arts institution, MHR is able to bring quality arts education to their students during the day on their campus.
“When I introduced the partnership at the end of last year, our community was buzzing,” said Laux.
He says parents, students and faculty have been thrilled with the new classes.
Students in kindergarten through eighth grade participate in age appropriate theater and music classes taught by Patel Conservatory instructors.
For music, students in 3rd through 8th grades receive fundamental music instruction and violin lessons. Older students may also have the opportunity to learn woodwind and percussion instruments with the possibility of a band class.
For theater, students in 5th through 8th grades will have a full year drama class and the opportunity to participate in Patel Conservatory Youth Theater productions at the Conservatory, such as Kiss Me, Kate and Music Man, Jr..
“The drama class is unreal, fantastic. I could see how it will help in the classroom. The activity [the instructor] was doing the other day looked like a game, but it was teaching [students] things like concentration,” said Laux.
Even if kids don't pursue the arts, exposure to the arts helps them build confidence, discipline and creativity, he said.
“But if it excites them, and opens the door for kids who have the talent and want to pursue that, the goal has been accomplished.”
Some music classes will also be offered at Morning Star School, a special needs school on MHR’s campus.
The Conservatory To-Go! program is the perfect solution for schools like MHR who want more arts education, but don’t have the internal resources.
“We’re still that hidden jewel in the community that many people don’t know about,” said Tina James, Education Programs Coordinator at the Conservatory.
“For MHR it gives them the performing arts that they’ve been missing, and for us, it expands our reach into the community and helps fulfill our mission,” which is to help students dream, reach, discover and create through the performing arts.
Laux says, “Having the Patel Conservatory at our school has made our school better.”
For more information about the Conservatory To-Go! program, please call 813.222.1002.