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#124103 - 08/03/11 07:00 PM [Off-Topic] Music Education
rharv Offline
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Registered: 05/30/00
Posts: 18591
Loc: Marysville, Mi. USA
How many of you have had music education in school?

Thinking about the recent budget issues here in the US, and knowing my dad recently spoke to congress members on the importance of keeping music in school. Wonder how hard it's gonna be for some states and communities to keep their music programs... if any of you have any connections get some ear time in and emphasize the importance of keeping music in schools.

Hey, it's music related.
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#124104 - 08/03/11 07:05 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Music Education [Re: rharv]
Matt Finley Offline
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Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 16533
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
It sure is (said the former junior high music teacher).
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#124105 - 08/03/11 07:33 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Music Education [Re: rharv]
bobcflatpicker Offline
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Registered: 10/27/07
Posts: 3350
Loc: WV, USA
Good post rharv.

When I was in school, music was so far on the backburner that it was essentially non-existent. School had nothing to do with me learning to play. It should have!

Counselors and teachers never mentioned music when I was a kid. Maybe it would help if the emphasis wasn’t just on brass and percussion? Strings anyone? (Although I know it doesn’t work in a marching band.) But it would work in an auditorium, or even a basketball court.

Music should be a basic part of our kid’s education. If it doesn't produce musicians, it will produce people who will appreciate music when they hear it.
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#124106 - 08/03/11 07:57 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Music Education [Re: bobcflatpicker]
Mac Offline
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Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 38502
Loc: Chesapeake, Virginia USA
My brother and I (and our sister the violinist who went to medical school instead) enjoyed what was to become the tail end of the public and private school music system in Pittsburgh, PA of the era. Great teachers, many of whom actually also worked as musicians as well as teaching music in the schools as well as private lessons.

Alas, those days are gone, but there are still plenty of active school band and orchestral programs in many public school systems. Here in the Tidewater area of Virginia, things look good for the kids.

Still, all it takes is a serious parent who will take the time that it takes, spend the money needed for instrument and teacher, plus provide that good old and usually necessary reinforcement of the discipline, such as making sure that practice doesn't fall by the wayside. We had those great school programs, but our parents took an active interest in outside music activities as well, the youth orchestras and whatnot, even music camps. It don't take a village, it takes a *family*.

There are still also plenty of outside outlets and venues for the youth to learn music, more now than there were in my day, for example, we did not even dream of a Rock 'n Roll camp, nor Bluegrass camp or Jazz camp for that matter. Those were all considered to be things that you took up on your own and to quite a few of the old school music teachers, it was viewed as mispent youth.

Judging from the school instrument rental programs in the music emporiums I love to visit when travelling, the school music programs are still there and are still providing the exposure to the art and science of making music. Not all will go on to try to make it as pro musicians, but all will certainly benefit from the experience, sometimes in ways that won't become clear to them until much later on in life. I recall checking out a university study that showed that college students who had been exposed to learning and practicing a musical instrument scored higher academic marks even in majors seemingly unrelated to music. Something to think about.


--Mac
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#124107 - 08/03/11 08:01 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Music Education [Re: bobcflatpicker]
rharv Offline
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Registered: 05/30/00
Posts: 18591
Loc: Marysville, Mi. USA
It's not just appreciating music Bob, it is SO much more.


Music teaches you to do math in realtime (countng beats and subdivisions)
Music is another 'written' language that is pretty universal now. Think about that; you are reading something not written in English and able to not only comprehend it but often also hear and feel it as you read it. Many people need to play it to hear it, but even that shows it is another language they can interpret. Some people can look at written music and 'hear' it with amazing detail.

It goes on and on. Music makes people smarter And happier. And heal faster. And creates discipline (through practice) ...
So many reasons, all proven with studies multiple times.
Music is important.
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#124108 - 08/03/11 08:15 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Music Education [Re: Mac]
rharv Offline
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Registered: 05/30/00
Posts: 18591
Loc: Marysville, Mi. USA
Yep; there are many studies showing students who studied music will score higher in other areas.
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#124109 - 08/03/11 08:28 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Music Education [Re: rharv]
eddie1261 Offline
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Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 3892
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
The music education I had in grades 1-8 was pretty much banging on percussion instruments, a little bit of singing, those horrid class performances....

Fortunately I started formal music lessons before age 5. By the time I got to kindergarten I could read music on the scale, knew about downbeats and what "2 and 4" was about, knew that the black keys were called sharps and flats.... so by about the 3rd or 4th grade music in grade school was pretty much a joke for me. There were 2 other guys who played instruments and we used to bring our stuff in for entertainment days. I am Slovenian and grew up in an ethnic neighborhood where polka and waltz was all they knew, and we all played accordion, so there would be three us up there with accordions.

Moving on to high school where you had actual band with brass and instruments, as well as percussion, piano, string bass, etc.... there we had better teachers. I sang in chorale in high school. I remember even in the 60s that the teachers would often buy stuff out of pocket rather than fight with the school board about $50 worth of supplies.

When I got to college (after the service), I had been playing 18 years already and tested through 101, 102, 103, 201, 202, 203 and went right to performance. Now you're talking. State funded college. Anything we wanted, we got.

Then move ahead when I went back to college for the computer degree in 1991. Already schools were cutting back some. I was taking some music education courses, thinking that as I got out of playing I might like to teach. The instructor in one of the first classes I had was a trumpet player who I happened to know. We went out for a beer after class one night and we were talking, and he asked why I wanted to teach. I told him about the giving back part, the interest in helping kids, etc.... He said "I teach high school. I teach 2 nights a week here at the college. I direct a community band, and I gig a few times a month. With all that, I can barely make ends meet. You turn all your work in on really well done computer printouts, and I hear you practicing before class. You play well, and you know computers. I think teaching would be a real letdown for you with the school board politics and all." And this wasn't a guy who came off as particularly jaded or anything.

Now I said all that to say this. I can not IMAGINE going to the school board because my junior high band needs new conga drums and being told there was no budget. My reply would be something like "Maybe you didn't hear me. My kids need new conga drums. Sign the &^!$%%^@ form so I can order them. And do it now." And then the police would escort me out and I would never teach again. That wouldn't have worked out for me.

Yet my very dear friend LOVES teaching. She teaches junior high aged kids, is a great player and amazing singer (like Emmylou Harris!!) and just loves what she does. She also talks about the school board cutting to the bare minimum and that some day they would eliminate music completely. (She works in a small suburb where the population is not among the sharpest knives in the drawer to start with.) And that would be sad.

I can't imagine what my life would have been without the inspiration I got from The Beatles coming to town, and the exhilaration I get from hearing Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmuzik, and the power and majesty of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, or the calming strains of Vivaldi's Four Seasons.

Music is everywhere if you allow yourself to hear it. I was in Arizona in 1980 staying with a buddy who had dirt bikes. One night late I went for a ride and I went WAY out into the desert, so far out that there was no "city" around me. No city lights, no city noises. Just me, the sand, a little breeze and enough moon to see where the snakes were. To the uninitiated, it was dead silence. But to me, I heard a music out there I had not heard before, or since. The wind blowing the sand, the snakes and the lizards moving with a soft whoosh, the occasional distant call of some animal or another.... that is a music you can't describe, and my description did not give it justice. A beautiful calm.

And that's what kids will miss if there is no music training. They will still listen to their iPods, but listening to this angry, racist, sexist, awful music with lyrics all about "biatch" and "ho'" and "nigga" and "muthafucka".... what happened to our craft? When did it become so angry and violent? More importantly, why? Is it necessary?

"All you need is love....."

Edited to add:

And none of that would have happened or mattered had there not been music education in schools.


Edited by eddie1261 (08/03/11 10:05 PM)
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#124110 - 08/03/11 08:29 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Music Education [Re: rharv]
bobcflatpicker Offline
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Registered: 10/27/07
Posts: 3350
Loc: WV, USA
Rharv,

Quote:

It's not just appreciating music Bob, it is SO much more.




I didn’t mean to compare “Music Appreciation” with actually learning to play an instrument and read and understand music. My bad. There’s such a huge difference between those two things.
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................................
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#124111 - 08/04/11 10:01 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Music Education [Re: bobcflatpicker]
MarioD Offline
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Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 10403
Loc: Hamlin NY
I started trumpet in the 4th grade. I added the French horn in the 10th grade. I sang in the grade school and high school choirs. I took college level music theory and appreciation courses in the 11th and 12th grades. If it weren’t for music I would probably be in jail now. Really, music education changed my whole life!

Here in Western NY schools have already cut back on the arts and music and that is a terrible thing. Of course they have kept ALL of their sports programs. At the music store where I teach we get a lot of concerned parents giving bringing their kids in for music lessons. We are trying to spread the word about the importance, as stated in many of this forum’s messages, of music in school.
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#124112 - 08/04/11 11:16 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Music Education [Re: MarioD]
rharv Offline
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Registered: 05/30/00
Posts: 18591
Loc: Marysville, Mi. USA

thanks Mario
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#124113 - 08/04/11 11:37 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Music Education [Re: rharv]
eddie1261 Offline
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Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 3892
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
Same thing going on in Michigan? The schools seem to think music, art and anything creative should go first. I think better stated, anything that costs money to maintain that is not a money maker. Sports are even falling short here, however, the "good" sports schools are not hurting. There is one huge high school here that is typically nationally ranked in football every year. Most of their home games are played at a college to sellout and overflow crowds, and the typically are no worse than 11-1 and play in the state championship. On the other side of the coin, the high school in my neighborhood, due to extremely low enrollment, last year did not win a game in football, basketball and baseball COMBINED. Every team was winless. Thus they did not sell any tickets beyond parents, and in this neighborhood the fathers are absent on 80% of the homes. That also means that the single mother does not have money to spend to go see her son play football. One game last year they had 48 people in the stands.

Music, since it requires instruments and maintenance, art because it requires supplies... they get the short end of it. The families can not afford art supplies, sax rental.... such a sad economic time in general and this is where it trickles down to.

I once did some volunteer time in an inner city school giving computer classes. One kid was like a sponge as he sat there hanging in EVERY word. Spoke to his teacher and she said the kid only comes to school every other day. During lunch I sat down with him and after some pulling and prodding, he told me that he and his brother share "the school clothes" and they take turns going to school.

(The next day, he and his brother each had 5 new outfits so they could both go to school every day.)

Chess, debate..... those don't have a lot of expense, so they continue. But music and art get cut out..... so sad.
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#124114 - 08/04/11 12:13 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Music Education [Re: eddie1261]
redguitars Offline
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Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 618
Loc: US
When I went to school, in the 50s-60s, they tested all of us before we went into Junior High or Middle school. (They also gave lots of sugar cubes. Vaccines I guess?) This was the first year they started Junior High in NYC. No more 8th grade. You went from 6th to JHS for 3 years then went to High School for 3 years. We started High School in the second year.

After we were all tested, we all wound up in different classes with different subjects.
I was in the Special Progress Classes. I had foreign language, band and orchestra, algebra and whole bunch of other High School courses.

Everyone else had other classes, like math and shop and all the regular ones as well.
The Music and Foreign Language classes I had were majors. Which meant if we failed any of them we got left back? Band counted as much as English or Math.

It all turned out to be a disaster for the school system, but I was exposed to Musical Instruments and playing by the time I was 12. I chose Tenor Sax. I should have picked Violin. The sax weighed a ton. It was a long walk to school with a ton of books and a Tenor Sax.

After that, in High School there was no music at all. It was like I was back in the 5th grade. What a waste. Years later when my wife was still teaching High School English, there was a big campaign for music, because they proved that it improved Math scores. So they started Music Classes and all the kids Math scores went up. Then 2 years later they dropped the music classes and we were back to where we started. No music or hardly any. They spent a lot of dough on sports though.

I loved it. I don’t think I would have gotten into music without school. I only started playing the guitar at 21. I bought an old guitar from an old guy on my block for 5 bucks and I was hooked. I got me a book called E-Z Guitar and learned it and I was off and running.

Our school in town now, had a great band in the late 80s and 90s, now it’s pathetic. It’s very sad. I believe many children have no idea they have musical talent.

Wayne,
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#124115 - 08/04/11 05:34 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Music Education [Re: rharv]
jford Offline
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Registered: 12/20/00
Posts: 10030
Loc: Pensacola, Florida
I was an army brat, moving every couple of years growing up (and even as an adult, as I was in the army, myself). For me, I can remember having an actual music class in third grade (learning really very elementary theory - notes, styles, melodies, singing, playing - well playing on - several instruments). Then nothing until 6th grade, where they asked if anyone wanted to learn an instrument. I wanted to learn trumpet and what happened was the junior high school music teacher came to the elementary school once a week and pulled me out of class for a lesson (I didn't do so well in history that year).

In 7th grade (junior high), I played in the band, but half-way through the year, my dad got reassigned from California to Washington, DC. I ended up going to school in Fairfax County, where I continued band through 9th grade, when we moved again to Kentucky.

I say my claim to fame is that I got to play at Wolf Trap Farm Park (well, as a freshman, I played in the high school band there for the seniors who were graduating). I finished high school playing in band, and then also participated in local music theater, as well as in the pit band for shows. Off to military college in Georgia, where I also played in the band. Not since 3rd grade, however, did I have a general music class, and not since 6th grade did I ever have private lessons (which I regret).

Now my son learned to play viola in the 5th grade, then joined the band on percussion in the 6th grade. His junior high also started a jazz band, and he played drum set for it in 7th and 8th grade, as well as in concert band. We were able to get him private lessons from a retired Sgt Major who happened to previously be the lead percussionist in The Army Band. This guy loved to take young kids under his wing and teach them that percussion wasn't just about playing rock and roll on a drum set.

In high school, he was in the marching band (and was the head of the drum line from his sophomore year on), as well as concert band, and his school earned Virginia Honor Band each year he was there. He also played in our county's wonderful youth symphony program where he got to go play at Carnegie Hall (practice, practice, practice) and they won the competition there (deservedly). He went through a multiple audition process and was also selected for the Virginia Governor's School for Performing Arts. He played in All-District and All-State band. He was also selected to play in the Young Artist program, where he got to play with the National Symphony Orchestra.

But it was only through band and orchestra that he received music education; there are not "general music" classes anymore.

He's now getting ready to start his senior year at West Virginia University on a full-ride music scholarship and just last week returned from five weeks of playing at the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro, NC.

I guess I'll just have to live vicariously, since I never had all the opportunities he has had. I suspect that if we did not live in the Northern Virginia area, he would not have necessarily had those opportunities.

Unfortunately today, education equals preparation to pass some standardized test, rather than learning to do things, solve problems, think creatively, and be ready to enter a harsh world out there. That's very sad...
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#124116 - 08/04/11 07:09 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Music Education [Re: jford]
redguitars Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/29/07
Posts: 618
Loc: US
John,
What a wonderful story. I can see how lucky your son was to be around people who were there to see his talent and nurture it. Congratulations on his accomplishments.

His story sounds just like they way it was here in the town where we live in upstate NY just 25 years ago. Every step he took there were kids just like him here taking the same ones.

My wife and I would go and watch those School Band and Drum competitions every year. They were events we never missed. They were very exciting and it was very exciting to watch so many young people giving so much and working so hard. They were all winners.

He had the advantage of opportunities that don’t exist here and in a lot of places anymore. This country has failed our children. Testing instead of teaching doesn’t work.

Over 20 years ago my Wife was still a High School English teacher. She meets her old students now, all grown up with their own families. Most of them gave her a hard time in school. Now they give her a hug and thank her for doing what she did for them. Some of them are Poets, some a writers and some are just really good people. One girl told her if it wasn’t for her teaching her how to write a paper correctly, she never would have become a Lawyer.

I wish the best for your son and for your family. Thanks for sharing this.
Wayne,
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#124117 - 08/05/11 08:50 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Music Education [Re: redguitars]
Mick Emery Offline
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Registered: 04/02/06
Posts: 1345
Loc: Needmore, PA, USA
Schools today, are much more about indoctrination than they are about education. I heard a progressive say some years back, on a TV show, "We know we will never change your minds. But we will teach & train your kids."
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