Locals connect academics with music

By Alyssa Murfey | gargoyle@flagler.edu

Dick Wagner, 64, said he sees a correlation between music and success.

He taught orchestra in the Duval County School System before owning a music store for 30 years. Now retired, Wagner teaches string lessons at Grampa’s Music on Anastasia Boulevard.

“Some of the best students were in orchestra and band,” he said. “They were usually involved in sports and had higher academic scores.”

Flagler College Student James Defoor, 21, agrees. He said he played piano for seven years.

“[Music] totally helps,” he said. “It trains you to be patient. Everything you do requires a lot of practice. Anything you want to be good at, that is.”

A study released by the National Association for Music Education found similar results.

“Schools that have music programs have significantly higher graduation rates than do those without music programs, 90.2 percent compared to 72.9 percent,” the study said.

Wagner said many aspiring musicians pick up their instrument again even after putting it down in discouragement, because music has powerful effects–academically and emotionally.

“Some that drop out usually come back later because music is just good for your life,” he said.

Scott Sweet, 56, owns Grampa’s Music and also teaches lessons. He said he sees positive changes in his students every day.

“It is not always a profound revelation, but is almost always positive,” Sweet said. “Music is very personal. It has such power. You cannot help but be affected by it.”

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