Music is more than just a soundtrack to our daily lives. It has a way of connecting us to moments in time, providing a needed lift when we are trying to get through the day and just putting a smile on our faces when we need one.

The benefits seem to also extend to those who learn to play an instrument. Various studies have shown that students benefit greatly from learning to play an instrument.

Data from the U.S. Department of Education on more than 25,000 secondary school students found that students involved in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show higher levels of proficiency in math by the 12th grade. Other research has shown that music training enhances the ability for kids to improve their reading, science and engineering skills.

None of that was probably on the minds of the students at the Golden Isles Youth Orchestra camp this week, though the kids participating certainly embody what all those studies say.

Many of the students who participate in the GIYO have a packed schedule throughout the year. Between the GIYO, their high school bands, AP or dual enrollment classes, other extracurricular activities and jobs, they stay pretty busy.

Through the GIYO summer camp, though, they get to spend a week focused on just the music with top-notch instruction from professional musicians. One of their instructors this week is a former GIYO member. Jacob Haymans is currently pursuing a master’s degree in music, but he returned home this week to help instruct the next generation of local and talented musicians.

Suzanne Morrison, the camp’s director and general manager for GIYO, said that nearly all GIYO members have earned college degrees. The exception are those who chose to go into the military.

Spots in the youth orchestra aren’t guaranteed to anyone. After camp ends this week, the students will soon have to audition for a spot in the orchestra. That means the students will have an extensive knowledge of how the real world works. You have to earn your place in this world, and auditioning for the orchestra reinforces that belief.

We salute the GIYO and their staff for providing a place for the talented young musicians in Glynn County to improve their craft. We urge anyone who is able to contribute to help the GIYO keep their programs going.

It’s been proven time and time again just how beneficial learning an instrument can be. We should do what we can to help nurture that talent in our local students.

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