Blog | Mar 8

What Is the “Gifted” in Gifted Music School?

Cello and string music lessons


What Is the “Gifted” in Gifted Music School?
By Katherine Baird


When people see “Gifted Music School”, the word “gifted” affects people differently. 

When I tell people I teach at Gifted Music School sometimes they respond with, “Does that mean they select only gifted and talented students to join the program?” No, it does not!

Recently, when I volunteered at a public school in my area for cello sectionals, the orchestra teacher introduced me, telling the students that I teach at GMS, “…and every student has to audition to get in”. I quickly spoke up to correct her and said that GMS accepts all students, that the term “gifted” refers to the gift that music gives the community.

The founders, Eugene and Vera Watanabe, envisioned a center in which children could be nurtured into outstanding musicians, creating a ripple effect throughout their own community. Multiply these micro communities, and the greater community is profoundly shaped, experiencing and benefitting from the gift of music.

Here is the mission of Gifted Music School:

Gifted Music School nurtures artistry, character, and skills vital to a healthy community through exceptional comprehensive music education.

When we read further, we see that GMS believes “…in excellence and the principle that all children, regardless of socio-economic background, should have access to the benefits of music instruction and mentorship…” All children deserve access to music education; clearly the school is not selective, but, rather, inclusive.

What are the benefits of music education that “gift” the larger community?

  • The skills developed to play music at a high level carry over into every aspect of a child’s life, affecting every person she/he connects with. They include:
  • Deep listening (something essential to a functional society)
  • Time management 
  • Concentration (in our distracted world this is a wonderful way to develop focus)
  • Perseverance and grit
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Emotional sensitivity
  • Critical thinking
  • Understanding of cause and effect, among many others
  • These skills foster citizens who value and will be supporters of the arts and of education, citizens who value relationships and community, and who know how to collaborate with others.
  • Music gathers community together by way of concerts, workshops, and informal, amateur chamber music gatherings. How beautiful is it to sit with fellow music lovers enjoying a concert? I love seeing the rapt attention of an audience silently sharing the sublime expression of feelings through musical performance.

These are the gifts of music that Gifted Music School strives to pass along to the world. May we ambassadors of GMS communicate clearly the meaning of “gifted” in Gifted Music School and, most importantly, do our best to humbly foster a love of music and learning in our students, fulfilling the vision of our founders Eugene Watanabe and Vera Oussetskaia-Watanabe.



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