Thursday, September 19, 2013

I Hadn't Thought Of It That Way

From a blog by Mark Oppenheimer: 
"I think it’s especially important that all public schools offer music and other arts in their curricula—both for their educational value, and so arts instruction does not become the province only of Americans who can afford to pay for after-school classes."


Recently I blogged about music advocacy (refer to "The SHOULDS of Music Advocacy") so I don't mean to have similar blog posts frequently, but it is likely to happen and I don't believe too much can be said about music advocacy. 

So here we go...again.

Upon reading the above statement I was struck by the last phrase (in bold print). 

Most of the time arts advocacy focuses on the lifelong enrichment a student receives from music (in my case) and/or the jobs that will be lost.

It is rarely mentioned that if a music program is cut that some students, who are able, will continue to have music in their lives. It will just be outside of the school setting in the form of private lessons or perhaps in church settings.

[As an aside I can see a resurgence of the church being the place for music as it was in the Middle Ages, but I digress.]

But what happens to the student who does not have the financial means with which to secure private instruction? 

Private instruction is not cheap nowadays. And with more students than private teachers I can see the costs going up.

I was fortunate to have private lessons in both voice and trombone when I was in high school. My parents saw to it that I got to my lessons. I worked at babysitting and delivering a paper route so I could have the luxury of private lessons.

If music is taken from the schools this would effectually mean that a percentage of the children going to school would never get a chance to experience music because they couldn't afford it or their parents couldn't/wouldn't spend the money on it.

There is a reason why education is free in the United States.
There is yet another reason why MUSIC education should remain free in the United States.

I was wishfully telling a friend about what I would do if I won the lottery.

[Disclaimer: I do not play the lottery.] 

After I paid off my house, bought a car, helped my church, helped my family...

I would open a music school for my community where all music instruction would be free.  The only limit would be having enough time and teachers to teach.

My friend said that's all well and good, but that it would put music teachers who depend on income from private lessons out of a job.

I told my friend that I would hire the teachers. That I'd said music instruction would be free, not that the teachers wouldn't be paid.
After all, I'd have just won the lottery.

[Disclaimer: I do not play the lottery.]

And *I* couldn't teach a whole community music all by myself!!

But wouldn't that be grand!?!

A whole community making music!

Perhaps this might become more than wishful thinking one day!

As the song says, "Who knows tomorrow brings?"

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