People of any age can benefit from the power of music

Research has long shown a powerful connection between music education and positive physical, social and emotional development.

The lessons music can offer are vast, covering everything from hand-eye coordination and improved memory to increased analytical and creative capabilities. Though more difficult to measure, we also know that learning to sing or play a song builds patience, dedication and determination — all skills that translate to many aspects of our lives as we learn and grow.

I am in a fortunate position to see this development take place for some of the youngest musicians in our community as part of the Dubuque Youth Symphony Orchestra. Each week, more than 100 middle and high school students, often along with their siblings and parents, gather at Clarke University to hone their craft under the direction of Clarke Director of Instrumental Activities and Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Rob Stull.

Thanks to the community partnership, Clarke also offers the free use of its facilities to the Dubuque Youth Symphony Orchestra, which helps keep costs down and expands access to music education to students throughout Dubuque.

One of the most exciting times to engage with these students is during their performance weekends. Working backstage with them, it’s always invigorating to see their energy and to see the progress they’ve made over the season. I also love watching the progression of our students as they continue making music from middle school through high school. Their dedication, discipline and hard work is inspiring.

The power of music is not limited to performing, however. Many of us have been moved by music in our everyday lives. While a particularly impassioned performance of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” might cause you embarrassment at a stoplight, those social and emotional impacts also carry value from the time we are young and well into adulthood — and Dubuque has no shortage of music to enrich and inspire you.

No matter if you find yourself on the stage or in the crowd, I encourage you and your families to embrace music in all its forms throughout the tri-states. Not only is it a great opportunity to expand your mind, brighten your mood, and get active, but it is also a unique way to connect with others in Dubuque and the surrounding area.