Puyallup Performing
Arts Academy


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PAYMENT 2019-20

Updated 3/9/2020

300 N. Meridian       Puyallup, WA 98371       253-561-7402


Each one of these songs or music-based activities, we teach  is tied to a specific academic standard (For example: Students can write numbers from 0-20 - K.CC.2; or Students can use adjectives and adverbs correctly - L.1.1) or learning outcome (For example: Phonics rules that make better readers or impulse control or increasing focus.) . Below is a more detailed explanation of how we integrate music into all areas of our learning.

How We Use Music

At Puyallup Performing Arts Academy, we utilize music in four distinct ways in order to maximize its potential for learning specific subjects and increasing overall learning skills. This method enhances our student’s creativity, self-discipline, motivation, team-building and social skills.  All of these areas are part of a fun, brain-based learning curriculum that allow students to meet and exceed state learning standards for their age/grade. 

We play musical instruments and learn to read music from the first day of class. In addition to being fun and building a child’s self-confidence, playing an instrument enhances neural connections that result in better brain function overall, which leads to higher general intelligence, faster and more accurate processing of information, better long-term memory as well as a better short-term memory, better working memory capacity and better thinking ability. Playing an instrument boosts brain connections below the cortex such as the hippocampus which specializes in memory. Better connections in all of these areas are shown to boost general intelligence, which likely explains why music training increases the IQ – and is the only activity to do so. 

We use music and songs to teach academic areas and skills, everything from basic letters and numbers (both sight-recognition and writing them), days of the week to multiplication facts, phonics and grammar. As music primes the brain for learning, by singing the letters, number and other (and much more advanced) curricular areas, combining them with visual and kinesthetic components, our students learn and retain what they’ve been taught 5-10 times faster than in a non-music based learning environment.

We sing fun songs and prepare for performances. By singing songs that the students find fun, or have a real emotional connection to (songs from a favorite movie, for example), the benefits of increased cognition and expressions of emotion are intertwined. These songs activate and develop the areas most involved in the brain that facilitate mood, social skills, motivational development, cultural awareness, self-discipline and personal management, and aesthetic appreciation. 

We dance.  When dancing, we take the study of music to an entirely kinesthetic level. By making music the core of  physical movement,  dancers produce a neuro-chemical called endorphins. This chemical causes a feeling of  euphoria and makes the brain more conducive to learning. 

And the best part is, is that as we use music in all these different ways, our students are just having tons of fun! 

Why Don’t Other Schools Do This?

If strong evidence supports the value of music in education, why is it not included in our schools? Here are a few of the reasons: 1) Many educators don’t know enough about the brain and learning to be able to articulate the value of music to policy-influencing bodies. 2) Most teachers don’t have a music background, nor do traditional teacher preparation programs train teachers to incorporate music into the curriculum. 3) Most school educators are constrained by competing demands on their time and resources, curriculum mandates, and various bureaucratic restraints. 4) The policy-making boards that are making curriculum decisions are primarily interested in the input-output ratio – that is, cost per student per year in relation to test scores. 

A music-based education at Puyallup Performing Arts Academy is not about school efficiency in the old-style sense. By incorporating music into the standard curriculum, our teaching is about effectiveness, and nourishing learners and their brain for a successful lifetime of learning!