On Monday, May 17, 2010, the local school board voted to cut the fourth grade orchestra program so the 10 sections of class could be moved to cover the loss of 28 general elementary music classes. (For background information see this open letter I posted.) The need to cover 28 classes of elementary general music is sad. The cutting of the fourth grade strings is sad. But, what is most sad for me is the loss our children will experience.
Not every person is a singer. Not every person plays a musical instrument. Not everyone is creates/composes music. Yet, we are all music consumers. Can you imagine a day without music? No music on the TV, on the radio, in a movie, in the car, at a sporting event, at a religious service…NO MUSIC! This is unimaginable to me.
Currently I am reading “The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature” by Daniel J. Levitin. There seems to be so many related quotes I could share from the small portion I have read. But here it is:
“…music gives the brain opportunities to explore, exercise, play with and train those mental, physical, and social muscles necessary for the maintenance and formation of society as we know it. It offers a safe forum in which we can practice and hone skills that are vital through the life span.”
That sounds like there is much music offers our children as we put them through our educational system. Given this and the pervasiveness of music in our world, limiting opportunities for music education seems unwise. I am thankful that unlike some school districts, music is still offered in our schools. Yet, these cuts will impact the experiences students will receive.
I was blessed to be born into a family of music lovers. My parents said I sang almost as soon as I spoke. By age two, I reportedly actively participated in music during worship. Piano, voice, and flute were my companions for years of school. I taught myself to play guitar which I shared at summer Girl Scout camps and church events. I knew I wanted a life that included music while I worked with people. Finding a career in music therapy has been a blessing to my life. So, I really can’t imagine a life without music. Can you?
- If you can imagine a life without music, I challenge you to report how you avoided it for a 24 hour period of “normal” daily activity.
- If you can’t imagine a life without music, I encourage you to report how music impacts your life.
- Cutting the arts out of education (njfaceofeducation.wordpress.com)
- What Would Life Be Without Music? (clarboe91.wordpress.com)
- Students Sound Off: Sophomore Jonathan Murray Hinely On Why Music Education Is Essential (huffingtonpost.com)