Saddle Brook High School offers robust band and choir programs to its students. Mr. Frank Ortega and Mrs. Cindy Verost teach roughly 80 high school students in the musical arts. Over the past few years, they have kept track of the number of those students getting onto the honor roll. “I check the honor roll every marking period to see how many members of the chorus make it. We usually average between 45-50 percent,” Mrs. Verost said. This past quarter, 65 percent of high school chorus members were on the honor roll. This is the highest it has been since Mrs. Verost started keeping track of grades.
Studies have suggested that students participating in ensembles have increased discipline and focus. According to The National Association of High School Principals, students who participate in ensembles have a higher attendance rate, make new acquaintances, and form lasting friendships with other ensemble members.
“I am not a 'Mozart Effect' proponent. However, since the auditory sense uses the greatest percentage of the brain, music can be considered a kind of 'calisthenics' for the mind,” Mrs. Verost said.
Mrs. Verost outlined the top reasons why an ensemble can be beneficial to a student: contributing as a member of a team whose focus is preparing and performing works of art; being introduced to music of different styles, time periods, and cultures, and relating that to their studies in social studies and language arts; and a strong work ethic that carries over into all other areas of study.