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All About Music And the Arts Is A Music School With A Mission

By S. Mathur

All About Music and the Arts is a music school in Houston, TX, with a mission. Specifically, the mission is to "make a musical or art experience a special part of every child's education and every adult's dream!" School Director Jo Ann Bigcas shares this mission wholeheartedly and feels that supporting music and arts is very important. There are many ways in which people can benefit from both music and the arts.

These benefits are not just for children but for everyone.

"Piano lessons actually make us smarter according to research," Bigcas said. "Children who take music lessons specifically piano lessons tend to grasp mathematical and science concepts faster than children who have not taken music lessons. It also increases IQ's."

In fact, the school's motto is: Learn to Play, Play to Learn. Music helps to develop our physical, mental and emotional ability, Bigcas said.

"Studying music develops our multi tasking ability," she said. "We use our ears, eyes, fingers and hands simultaneously to play whatever instrument we have chosen. Music also develops our emotional part of us and we can pick any song we like that fits our moods or draw something too."

Classes include lessons in piano, guitar, bass, drums, string instruments including violin, viola, cello, and upright bass, vocal coaching, woodwind instruments, and brass instruments. Students also have opportunities to gain performance experience, with a year-round schedule of recitals in the 3,500-square-foot hall. The art school offers private and group lessons in drawing, sketching, and painting. The school's hallways and concert hall serve as galleries for displays and special shows of student work.

Programs include clubRock, an after-school band program, which gives kids ages 7 to 17 the experience of playing in a band. Student bands have the opportunity to perform onstage at The Satellite Room.

The school was started by Linda Paredes in 1996, and Bigcas took it over in March this year. Bigcas came by her love of music early, as she was born in a musical family. Her mother was her first music teacher, and all the siblings learned to play the piano. All family members play or teach the piano, and running a music school comes naturally to her.

"Music is a universal language," Bigcas said. "It crosses racial, cultural bounds. Emotional bonding can occur even between strangers just with songs that are playing through the radio, a concert hall, a restaurant."

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