Music education programs are failing in schools, performing arts programs are being cut, all because schools are no longer choosing to fund these. Can we talk about this for just a minute? The reasoning behind these cuts are obscure, and the ones that are clear make any music educator or musician cringe. Schools have become a place where a grade is more important than the value of the education given, and arts don’t fit into the mold of standardized testing. “Music education is pointless” some might say. “What does this do for my child?” parents are asking. Music creates individuality and gives the freedom of expression. Without these, the world is dull at best. Without expression, without music, think about how boring your life would be. No more dancing around as you clean your house, or jamming to your favorite song in the car. Just silence. Maybe talk radio. Maybe nothing. Music is creativity that appeals to the ears and evokes emotions that some people didn’t even know they had. But music should be taught from the very start. Starting with music education programs in schools.
A rationalization for keeping music education programs alive in schools is that studies have shown that adolescents who are involved in some sort of music education program show better puzzle solving skills and reach decisions faster and easier. From personal experience, I can tell you that is true. It is much easier for me to make decisions than some of my friends who have not been involved in music education to the extent that I have, or have not been involved in music at all.
Another rationalization is that music education raises standardized test scores. Can you believe that? This is disgraceful! Standardized tests do little to show the knowledge actually gained at schools, and students are more than grades and test scores. Music is expression and freedom, and it shouldn’t matter whether standardized test scores are raised or not! If it were up to me, there wouldn’t be any standardized tests. But that’s a whole different topic. And while I feel that music educators shouldn’t have to rationalize the validity of their programs using facts like that, it’s a very good reason to keep music education alive in public and private schools.
As a future music educator, I reach out to you in hopes that you can do something to fight the decrease of music education programs, as well as any other arts program, in schools. Without these, we are dull and boring. Without these, our creativity won’t be unlocked, and creative expression will be null. Without these, we might as well be robots.