The fine arts director for the Biloxi School District said as far as he knows, this is the first time that Biloxi schools have offered a piano program. It all started last year when the district was named one of the best music education communities in the country.
District leaders wanted to do more to enhance the music program, so they chose piano. More than 100 students enrolled in the classes at Biloxi Junior High, and 75 students are now taking piano at Biloxi High School.
District funds were used to purchase the 40 pianos, and teachers say the program offers many benefits.
“Students who are in formal music education, they score better on standardized tests. Their GPAs are usually higher. Their ACT scores are usually higher. Their daily attendance is usually better because they're involved in a school program, and down the road, what parents usually really enjoy is the scholarship opportunities,” said Fine Arts Director Travis Coakley.
“It's a good idea, because there are a lot of people who like piano more than anything else,” said eight grader Emily Roth.
Due to the overwhelming response, the district plans to expand the program next year by adding even more classes.