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 MUSIC - for the Brain - and the Soul

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REWIRING YOUR BRAIN

REWIRING YOUR BRAIN

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Maura DiBernardinis - May 19th 11 AM (PST) Oh, to be one of the lucky ducks spending 45 minutes a week in Room 212 at John Welsh Elementary School, where music teacher Maura DiBerardinis has everything a K-8 kid could want to blow, bang, shake, tap, and ogle.She's got guiros and xylophones, tambourines and recorders. Neatly labeled Ikea crates contain scarves, triangles, djembes, glockenspiels, claves, finger cymbals, and Boomwhackers (colorful tuned tubes that teach harmony and melody)."One set of textbooks cost thousands of dollars. A basic xylophone runs $800 - and I need six of every instrument," notes "Ms. D.," a Jennifer Garner look-alike. "Instructional CDs are expensive, too, but it's important for the kids to hear exciting arrangements instead of just listening to me playing the piano all the time."If you're presuming Room 212 is in an affluent suburb, think again. Welsh sits in whipsawed North Philadelphia, and the cash-strapped School District of Philadelphia pays for none of this aural adventure.Ms. D's "Music Patrons" do. When DiBerardinis landed at Welsh fresh out of Temple in 2005, the rookie received dusty textbooks, a piano, and $300 to revive a moribund music program."I teach 550 kids in nine grades," she calculated. "That's about 50 cents per student!"DiBerardinis student-taught in Lower Merion and saw how the haves made beautiful music. She took a cue from her activist parents to do more for deserving city kids. Listen to her explain how she turned her program around.

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