To the editor of THE EAGLE:

We want to extend a resounding "thank you" to the fine music instructors who offer wonderful opportunities within the Pittsfield Public School system, as well as to the teachers and administrators who support their work.

Our son enjoyed supportive music instruction while at Williams Elementary from the energetic and creative Ms. Senta Brodeur. His transition to Herberg Middle School has been a smooth one thanks to abundant opportunities to participate in jazz band, concert band and other ensembles under the dedicated leadership of Mr. Nelson-Unczur. In December, the Herberg jazz band wowed a large audience at Barnes & Noble.

This group practices twice each week at 6:50 a.m. with nary a complaint even on the coldest winter mornings. The January concert at Herberg demonstrated that the chorus, orchestra and concert band all benefit from superb instruction. The students showed a level of passion and virtuosity well beyond anything you might expect at the middle school level.

Books such as the bestseller "This is Your Brain on Music" provide a window into the positive links between the practice of music and the neural development of young minds. But you don’t need a scientist to convince you of the value of that arts instruction. Talk to the parents of students involved in music, theater and visual art, and you will understand that these kids are more focused and motivated in school thanks to the arts. Employers will also tell you that workers with a creative side are far more valuable.

Let’s hear some applause for the music and arts teachers who work tirelessly to bring out the best in our students, and the wisdom of the School Committee and the administrators who maintain the strength of these programs in Pittsfield.

JOHN BISSELL

MELISSA BISSELL

Pittsfield