Students at several Warren County Public Schools are now able to learn to play violin, viola and cello, thanks to a grant from the GM Foundation and the Symphony at Western Kentucky University.

A $5,000 grant from those organizations allowed for the purchase of eight cellos and 40 violins and violas which are used in Lost River Elementary School and Rockfield Elementary School, said Matthew Crocker.

Crocker is the orchestra director at Greenwood and Warren Central high schools and works in a number of schools through the strings program in Warren County Public Schools.

Music is an important part of a child’s education, and students who learn about music are also learning things such as math, science and history through those lessons, he said.

“It expands areas of your brain that normally you don’t use,” Croker said.

Representatives from the GM Foundation and the Symphony at WKU visited Lost River Elementary School on Thursday and got a look at the instruments and some of the strings program participants.

The instruments purchased through the grant have allowed students who might not otherwise have been able to participate in the strings program to participate, Crocker said.

Students received the instruments in October, though they had lessons before that, he said. 

The students have adjusted well to using the instruments and come to class excited, Crocker said.

“They love the instruments,” he said.

Jim Goff, principal of Lost River Elementary, said the strings program, which got started at his school this fall, is a new opportunity for students that they have taken to in large numbers. 

About 60 students at the school are involved in the strings program, he said.

“They’ve just eaten it up,” Goff said.

The strings program is something new for students and gives them an opportunity to be creative, he said.

Jennifer Bryant, executive director of the board of directors for The Symphony at WKU, said the organization saw a need for instruments at schools such as Lost River Elementary and were able to partner with the GM Foundation to fill that need. 

“We at the symphony know that our audience starts in the hearts and minds of these little ones,” she said.

Instruments purchased through the grant are also being used at Moss Middle School, Bryant said.

Bryant said that instruments are needed in other schools in the community as well, and that the Symphony at WKU board of directors hopes to work with other partners to provide more grants for instruments in the future.

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