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City School Music Programs Getting Extra Attention

We are used to hearing about school music and art programs placed on the chopping block. But in the Rochester City School District, they are getting special attention.
We are used to hearing about school music and art programs placed on the chopping block. But in the Rochester City School District, they are getting special attention. 

For some kids, music is a way to express themselves. 

"I like dancing, I like writing and I like singing," Kennedy Mullins said.

"Dancing, singing, notes and that's about it," Terell Willis said.

The dancing and singing will continue in city schools superintendent Bolgen Vargas gets his way. His 2014-2015 budget proposal shines a spotlight on music.

"For some students, music is the reason they come to school. I had a student at School #17 that literally would only come to school on days that he had lessons. We were able to use it as an incentive for him to increase his attendance. It happens in most schools," music director Elizabeth Hanan said.

The superintendent's plan includes funding for a full-time music teacher in every school. Right now, some schools' music teachers are only part-time. 

"Our students don't usually get access to music lessons outside of school, so first of all we are their connection to music; and they should have, as members of our society and culture, they should have access to this," music teacher Rachel Dobbs said.

Rachel Dobbs has been a full-time teacher at School #4 for eight years.

"When you are full time in the building, there's a less chance you will be moved out of the building and when you stay longer, you start to accumulate resources. You have relationship with families that span many years," she said.

"So excited. This is exactly what our students need. What our parents have been asking for. Our teachers are excited to have this opportunity," Hanan said.

The students say it is music to their ears. 

"I like dancing, writing notes, playing, music, playing instruments," Shayla Singletary said. 

Music teachers at the district have formed a scholarship committee. They are raising money for summer music programs. 
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