Cuba Elementary students not just fiddlin' around

Paul Schaumburg

LEARNING MUSIC EASIER WITH STRINGS ATTACHED – Cuba Elementary sixth graders are learning first-hand the Chinese proverb that says, “Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.” One of the Graves County School District’s five beliefs says, “Students learn more when authentically engaged.”

Ashley Darnell, who teaches orchestral stringed instruments to Graves County elementary students, said, “Music lectures and learning about music is just not as good as actually playing music. Research shows that performing music engages many parts of the brain at the same time in a way that nothing else can.

Students who play instruments have higher test scores. Here, at Cuba, the PTO voted to buy instruments and have students year after year take violin lessons in the sixth grade. I think that says a lot about the community, the parents, and their values. Fancy Farm has done this for three years and Lowes plans to start next year. We started at Cuba just after Labor Day and all 32 students have come a long way.”

For some, the class is a dream come true.

Sixth grader Heaven Youngblood said, “I’ve wanted to play since first grade. I’ve played guitar, but it’s different with a bow.” 

Classmate Brandon Benyei explained, “It’s hard at first because you don’t know how to start or the parts, but as you go on, you learn.”

Now that he’s developed some skill, he finds, “It’s really a fun thing to do with my friends!”