The Central Music Academy’s teachers also offer unique courses of study outside of regular private lessons. During the school year, for example, CMA has offered more than ten after-school steel band outreach classes where students study Caribbean music and culture while learning to play the Trinidadian steel drums. Our six-year program at Dixie Elementary has yielded especially successful results. At Dixie, not only did students' grades and classroom behavior improve after they participated in CMA's steel pan program, but the school's annual CATS (the state's standardized test) scores increased dramatically from 55 points in 2005 to 109 in 2007. In 2008, CMA provided two trained instructors to teach interactive music and movement classes to 15 ESL (English as a Second Language) students from Cassidy Elementary. Many of these children had recently relocated to Lexington as refugees or immigrants, and in an effort to help them integrate into the community, our teachers used Orff xylophones and group improvisation in order to improve the kids' linguistic, motor, and social skills. In 2010, we added a group guitar class to our program; we partnered with M.A.S.H. of the Bluegrass for this program. We have also offered jazz improvisation classes, a clarinet choir, a class for pre-school-aged children in partnership with the UK Music Therapy Department, a CMA rock band, a steel band, a ukulele class, and a Bluegrass ensemble.
Photo: After-school steel pan class at Arlington Elementary.