DICKSON, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- The after school beginner guitar class at Dickson Elementary is hard at work on its Christmas program.
The classes are offered during the school year by the non-profit Quest Center. Founder Jim Lutz says its about more than music. He wants to build better communities one child at a time.
“Greater self-confidence, better self-esteem, they have better social skills, and they’re more engaged, more active, more likely to put their hand up in school and participate in school conversations in the classroom.”
Lutz launched Quest following a 45-year corporate career. Children pay what they can. Additional funding comes from grants and donations. Now in its fifth year, Lutz says Quest has grown from 3 children to about 120 in weekly classes.
Dr. Jennifer Vannatta-Hall conducts music education research at Middle Tennessee State Univeristy. She says in recent years music has taken a backseat to preparing Tennessee students for state mandated academic tests. She notes there are a few schools where music isn’t offered at all, and that’s a problem.
“That impacts a different part of the brain than just sitting and doing math, doing social studies, science. Those are all very important things as well, but music is a unique way of knowing.”
Jim Lutz is currently offering Quest Center music lessons at four Dickson County schools, a White Bluff community center, and a public housing complex each summer.
He hopes to see the program’s success replicated in other mid-state communities in the coming years. Espcially in poor, mostly rural systems where music isn't always offered in the public schools.