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Valley Forum: We can’t afford to lose Sonoma Music Arts School

By Dmitra Smith

Along with other members of our community, I recently received a letter from Aldo Mosca, the director of the Sonoma Music Arts School, asking for support. It is no secret that Aldo is a dedicated and committed teacher and music advocate, and has been instrumental in opening the doors of creativity and expression for hundreds of Valley families.

With the nonprofit, tax-exempt school struggling to operate and reaching out for help, the idea of it not being there in the future is too heartbreaking to consider.

I’ll play devil’s advocate for a moment. I’m a musician, and naturally would have an interest in the school’s continued success. But I’m speaking as a parent. I’ve seen the positive effect that music instruction has had on my son, including increased focus, a boost to his confidence and self esteem, and in general he’s simply a happier kid. He’s proud of the fact that he can play an instrument.

In addition, SMAS is like an extension of our family. My son has positive relationships with the amazing teachers, who are really there for the students, both in instruction and as role models. SMAS is one of the most important community organizations we have in Sonoma Valley.

It’s not just my opinion. Studies show that exposure to music and theory makes kids smarter, improves math skills and problem solving, increases focus and a whole host of tools they need in school.

At a time when so many art, music and even sports programs are being cut from schools due to our budget crisis, we desperately need schools like SMAS.

This is part of the cultural wealth of our community. There is a constant concern, and rightly so, over the issues of gangs, substance abuse and media consumption that plague teens. SMAS provides a positive outlet for students. We can count the organizations doing this on one hand. We can’t afford to lose one.

With all of the big-dollar galas, parties and fundraisers I see happening each year, I know that there is no shortage of resources in the Valley.

While I appreciate the philanthropic activities of folks for other worthy causes they support, I am also asking that our community pull out the stops and support the only music school we have in this little town. We would lose a great asset if SMAS were to close its doors.

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  Dmitra Smith is the parent of a young Sonoma Valley musician.