Why is music so important to us? I think it is safe to say, the answers to this question would number in the millions. It makes us feel better, makes the days go faster, keeps us awake on the road, inspires us, moves us, and the list goes on. But what does science tell us about the importance of music in our lives? A lot.

Recent studies have shown it can brighter our mood and lessen depression. "It can also improve blood flow in ways similar to statins, lower your levels of stress-related hormones like cortisol and ease pain." That's amazing! But exactly what is the process?

According to Kim Innes, a professor of epidemiology at West Virginia University's School of Public Health, music seems to "selectively activate neurochemical systems and brain structures associated with positive mood, emotion regulation, attention and memory in ways that promote beneficial changes."

Other studies have shown that exposure to music early in children's lives can positively impact math and science aptitude and learning in general. Which is just one of the reasons Harmony South Dakota is so extraordinary and so important.

Harmony South Dakota is a music program operating every day that school is in session here in Sioux Falls. Since it began, it has grown tremendously and now children from 12 different schools are involved in its programs.

Harmony South Dakota is located at St. Joseph Cathedral School at 601 W. 4th Street. Its mission is to increase children's self-confidence, self-discipline, imagination, patience, and concentration, among other things. Children learn to play instruments, listen to music, and sing, but they also get a healthy snack and have time set aside to work on their homework with volunteer mentors to help.

How does this tremendous program afford to do this? With a list of generous partners and events like the United Way's Women Unite luncheon. It is on Wednesday, August 15, at the Ramkota Exhibit Hall from 11:30 AM to 1 PM. You'll hear about the remarkable work Harmony South Dakota does and enjoy a performance by their talented students.

Tickets are $20 and available online until they're gone.

Registration for the 2018-2019 school year is open now for all children entering the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade and you need to fill out a registration form. To volunteer, donate, or get more information, see Harmony South Dakota.

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