When there are budget cuts in school districts, art, music, and drama are always the first areas cut from the school program or course offerings. This is unfortunate because much is to be gained by providing musical and artistic experiences throughout a child’s educational journey. Here at ASB, we understand the importance of the arts within education and provide a wide variety of exposure and opportunities for participation in piano, band, chorus, art and drama.
Music has always been an extremely important part of life for blind or low-vision individuals. Therefore, music is understandably vital to the students at ASB. Many blind children have an innate musical talent – it is our duty to develop as fully as possible. Through the study of music, students experience high levels of self-expression, creativity, discipline, cooperation and achievement. Music education and participation brings so many benefits to the visually impaired: It trains them to listen and interpret the sounds they hear; it develops memory; it develops good coordination; it enables them to integrate socially; and it could lead to employment or at least provide a means of supplementing income. Fostering musical talent at all levels contributes to general child development, especially that of the visually-impaired because it encourages critical listening.
Students from pre-k through high school have the opportunity to participate in an array of music classes including piano, Instrumental Music I, Instrumental Music II, Instrumental Music III, Instrumental Music IV, Elementary Chorus and High School Chorus. Students share their talents through various local, statewide and national performances each year.
Art education is essential for a well-rounded academic program – it provides children with a fully integrated appreciation of culture and community and is a powerful means of expression that enables the child to develop a wide range of skills such as: leadership, teamwork, communication, self-discipline, self-expression & creativity. Art can be a challenging subject for blind and visually impaired students. At ASB, we strive to make art, art history, and visual culture accessible to our students. Our goal is to provide and promote the tangible benefits of art and art education through activities such as museum visits, art appreciation lessons and actual hands-on creation of art through various mediums for our students – to give those who cannot see equal access to the world’s visual culture and the opportunity to experience the life-enhancing power of art.
ASB has a long history of performing arts with several performances played to a packed audience several times a year. Past performances include The Wizard of Oz, Romeo and Julie, and plays that have been written by the students. Students take an active role not only in acting but in set design, costume design, props, sound effects and lighting as well.