We are a day away from the wedding of the century. Instead of focusing this first feature of Thursday Thoughts on William and Kate, I want to discuss a matter that's near and dear to my heart: music education.
It seems that more and more school districts each year are canceling their music programs when it comes to budget cuts. School boards don't get it that social studies, physical education and math are all equal when it comes to the overall success of a young student.
My first introduction to music was from my mom. She was a talented singer and pianist though she never went professional. She just won the majority of her school talent shows or came in first and second place. Mom even offered to play the piano for some of her classmates who participated as well.
I had my first musical performance in a Seventh-Day Adventist pre-school. We sung Jesus Loves Me This I Know. I remember destroying my doll collection trying to find the perfect baby Jesus for the performance. Luckily for me, that wasn't the end of my musical experience when I enrolled in public school.
I was very fortunate to grow up in a school district on Long Island, NY where music education started young: 2nd grade. Not only did we study the basic school subjects, we were required to be in chorus. For those who couldn't carry a tune, we had simple musical instruments: triangle, cymbals, drums and tambourine. The most exciting thing that happened to me was when an orchestra & band performed in my school's auditorium. I don't recall if it was the principal or assistant principal, but we were told that the following school year we could learn to play one of the instruments on the stage. I immediately fell in love with the saxophone and the violin. After considering the pros & cons of each, I opted for the violin. The violin sounded like a human voice to me. With that, one could passionately play what they felt inside. That started a life long love for the instrument and classical music in general.
Music education helps develops a child's mind & builds self-confidence. Learning a new instrument takes dedication, it takes good math skills to be able to count the beats, it allows for creativity which comes in handy for improvisation exercises and it introduces you to team work or even a leadership position if you become the concertmaster/lead chair. The benefits of studying music don't end there. Students can also be introduced to other cultures via their musical instruments.
I hope future generations will be able to experience the joys of performing in a Wynton Marsalis, or go undeveloped. For those who played an instrument long ago and stopped, try to pick it up again, donate it or try a new instrument. Wish me luck as a start my 8 week Guitar 1 class this Sunday! while in school. Don't let the talents of a future