At this time of the year, more than any other time, music is the universal form sensory stimulation that brings a rush of reminisces, uplifting spirits and joy to everyone who hears it.
The art form of music does not just happen. It is a result of generations of tradition, practice, parental urgings and hard work that is appreciated by everyone, especially by those who regret not continuing to take music lessons when they had the chance. Few will ever say they are glad they quit taking music lessons. It is a talent we all have, to some degree, but it must be encouraged and supported for it to grow.
The rhythm of a beating heart is the very first sound we all hear when we are in our mother’s womb. That beat can express excitement, joy, relaxation and tension and is the most fundamental form of music. All music is built on rhythm that can translate into many traits that are important in our everyday life. Things that have patterns, structure, organization and repetition are comforting and assuring as it gives some predictability to what is ahead as no one really likes the unpredictable or the unexpected.
Music seems to be a common trait found among higher achievers in school and life as well as engendering empathy and expressions for positive emotions. It is mathematical, logical and causes one to strive for completion as no one wants a chord or thought to remain unresolved. One never hears of a music teacher or musician being a mass murderer. Georgia Cates said music is what feelings sound like. This is the basis of harmony and good will toward others. Having the ability to let others know how we are feeling without have to say anything.
Today, the importance of music, is being compromised as technology makes it easier to produce and acquire. The budget cuts by school boards forces schools to choose between athletics and music related activities both in dollars and demands of the student’s time. Athletics are often in direct competition with music departments resulting demands that the student choose one or the other because of scheduling.
Any consideration for the greater good is often ignored. There is considerably more teamwork and organization required for a band or a choir to produce a product for public presentation and it involves considerably more participates to produce. The lingering affect of a great musical performance can last a life time compared to a star moment of one athlete that will probably be forgotten by morning.
The vicariousness of parents to relive their own star athletic moments, along with the desire to be from the town of a winning team, is a selfish compromise. Athletics alone will deprive too many students of the sensation, skill development and structure that music bring and has a direct benefit for many more students compared to those of a few athletes. I loved my days as an athlete but I treasure the sounds that came from music I was a part of, far more.
Cities with art councils have the same syndrome in reverse. Their mission, to advance their love for the arts, has become so narrow that they fail to see how they are related to the business world. The arts are not just pretty. They are vital and needed to raise the quality of life in the community and the community’s ability to attract new businesses. The arts culture of a community is directly linked to the function of attracting quality employees to work in local businesses. These quality employees, if they move to our towns, want their children to be exposed to the arts and music. These are disciplines that helped him to be successful and desired by businesses during their career.
This is not an either/or issue. Both athletics and the arts are very important and enhances the student’s ability to master technical concepts, which is why they are in school in the first place. But to completely eliminate or compromise music, theater or art departments to save money is the beginning of the end of the community’s educational system. Our education systems must compete in the world to produce citizens that can walk, chew gum and hum a tune at same time while finding their way to work.