St. Louis Symphony Scholarship helps teacher bring music to Normandy students

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PASADENA PARK, MO (KPLR) – Before they play their violins, it`s Ra`Geen Washington`s job to make sure these students understand the timing and value of each note.

'Music is math,' says Qinci Page, Jr., Student.  'You got whole notes, quarter notes, sixteenth notes, all that stuff.  It`s like fractions.'

It all adds up to creating diversity in the field of music.

For Ra`Geen Washington, a three-year in unison scholarship recipient and administration fellow, it`s her job to get these Lucas Crossing Elementary students ready for a Christmas concert.

'There are four schools in the Normandy School District,' says Ra`Geen Washington, Normandy School District Orchestra Teacher.  'I am the orchestra teacher for all four elementary schools.  So, that means I`m going to every school, recruiting, getting new kids involved and going to the old ones and signing them up.'

She`s familiar with this school from her college days at UMSL when she volunteered with the music program here.

Washington`s pluckiness and persistence led to landing the Monsanto funded St. Louis Symphony Scholarship, where she`s now leading the bands and putting music in the hands of students.

'Music is beautiful,' says Page.  'Once you play it you`ll love it.'

'Kids who are, especially kids who are string or orchestra students, it`s just proven that they are usually our highest academic performing students,' says Duane Foster, Normandy Schools Collaborator Fine Arts Director.  'A great sense of dealing with problem solving, they have a great sense of school community.'

'This program it gives you a sense of a family,' says Washington.  'I feel like, I strongly believe that this is a family.  We have to work together to make anything beautiful.'

And to make beautiful music it takes practice, practice, practice which will get you to Carnegie or Powell symphony hall.