Thursday, July 5, 2012

Music Education

NOT because I expect you to major in music.
NOT because I expect you to play or sing all your life.
NOT so you can relax or have fun.
BUT- So you will be human
So you will recognize beauty
So you will be sensitive
So you will be closer to an infinite beyond this world
So you will have something to cling to
So you will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good…
In short, more life.
Of what value will it be to make a prosperous living unless you know how to live?
~Author Unknown~

            Why do we have music education in our schools?  It can’t possibly be as important as reading, writing, and arithmetic can it?  The truth is that music is an elemental part of every person’s life weather they realize it or not.  Music has been used as a personal and cultural expression of identity in every civilization since the beginning of time.  Music education helps to cultivate and enhance this innate human characteristic, but that is not all.
            There are proven benefits to music such as developing the brain in language and reasoning and helping to develop creative thinking and problem solving skills.  In ensemble settings such as band, orchestra, and chorus students learn teamwork skills and discipline as well as, if not better than they would on any sports team.  Studies have also shown that students who took part in music instruction for four or more years scored an average of 100 points higher on their SAT’s than students who studied music for half a year or less.
            Despite all of these benefits, there are those who would disagree that music is a vital part of every child’s education.  It is not uncommon across the country to find funding being taken away from music/arts programs and given to athletic or standardized testing programs.  But there are some organizations that fight to keep music in our schools.  On the national level there is the National Association for Music Education (of whom UNL’s own Dr. Glenn Nierman has recently become the president-elect) and locally there is the Nebraska Music Educators Association.  Both of their websites have advocacy pages which we the public can use to stay informed and to get involved.  My best memories from elementary, middle, and high school revolve around a music classroom, what about yours?

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