Music can change the world because it can change people.


March is Music in Our Schools Month.   This year’s theme is “Music Lasts a Lifetime”.

Okay, so music lasts a lifetime, but what about music in our schools?  Will that last a lifetime?  Will it last in the upcoming years?

There is uncertainty in the education field.  We are facing significant budget cuts.  Once again, the arts are under scrutiny.  People are asking how necessary are the arts?

Music is a core subject area.  It is a part of every subject in school as well.  Music is math. Music is language arts.  Music is art.  Music is science. Music is social studies.  Music is foreign language.

Music should also stand on its own.  It should not have to be linked to other subject areas.  Music is an essential part of our society.  We must allow our children to become educated in music.

Students who perform in music ensembles are very often on the honor roll, score high on state tests, and generally do better in schools.  Are the “smarter” kids part of the music program or does music make them “smarter”?

Today I attended a Staff Development day.  A colleague of mine had a concert last week.  He spoke to the audience about the importance of keeping music programs strong in our schools.  Here are some ideas he came up with:

  • Music teaches self discipline.  Musicians need discipline to practice on their own.  They also need discipline when rehearsing with others.
  • Music teaches self control.
  • Music teaches confidence.  It takes confidence to stand up in front of an audience to perform.  Musicians take risks and overcome fears in performing.
  • These students are our future leaders.
  • Music teaches self expression.
  • Music ensembles give parents the opportunity to see their children perform their final exam.
  • Music teaches problem solving.  A music teacher will ask a section to make changes in the way they are playing something.  The section needs to work together and address the problem.  For example, a section will by asked to change the dynamics to piano or forte, to change the phrasing, etc.  The section will need to work together to make that happen.
  • Music teaches accuracy.  In most subject areas a grade above 65% is a passing grade.  What about in music?  Imagine a concert where students played 65% of the notes correctly.

My colleague ended with a story about his father.  This teacher’s father was a sports fan.  When this teacher was in high school himself, after one of his concerts his father came up to him and said, “You know what I love about music?  Everyone wins.  There are no losers in music.  No one goes home saying, ‘Awww, I sat on the bench a.g.a.i.n.'”

What a great lesson.  “Everyone wins in music.”  That is so true.

What can we do to try to ensure that the arts stay strong in our schools?  Talk to people.  Tell your friends and neighbors that you think the arts are vital for our students.  Encourage people to go out and vote for school budgets.  Write a letter.  Try writing to your local school board, your local superintendent, your congressman or a local newspaper.  Get the word out.

Let’s keep the arts strong in our schools.

–Running Girl


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