I usually keep political discussions to my blog, but this is one I want to mention here. The Washington Post discusses often about the difficulties of education in the DC area, something pretty indicative of most of the nation. So I read with sadness this article on the state of music in the DC schools. Apparently one school has only three trumpets for twelve players and two clarinets for thirty players!! Overall, 40% of DC area elementary schools don’t even have a music teacher or music program. These are several of the problems.
I was a band geek back in the high school days, playing the Tenor Saxophone. Our high school, Wilcox High School, was in a middle-income section of the Bay Area in California. Everything was pretty well funded. We had a football team that did pretty well. We had an Academic Decathlon team….we didn’t do so well there. Palo Alto High School, just a few miles to the north of Santa Clara, had the serious funding from their community and in the Academic Decathlon, they won the most awards. I went to the Academic Decathlon my senior year and I placed third in two sections!! 😀
Anyways, our high school also had a great band. We competed in band reviews (parades) and field shows (football game half-time shows). We weren’t the best in the region (Fairfield High School kicked everybody’s butts and they knew it), but we were good. Our high school had a drama program. We performed Little Shop of Horrors, You Can’t Take It With You, South Pacific, among many others. These programs added to our education immensely, and, seeing what the world of education has come to, I’m glad I got it when I could.
I am disappointed that in the NCLB (No Child Left Behind) Act, most music programs are being cut because of lack of funding. How terrible! What message are we sending to our kids? That the best they can get out of music is Backstreet Boys and Brittney Spears? How would kids even learn about Tchaikovsky if not for band? Or Sousa? Gershwin? Well, in Gershwin, at least they hear a snippet of Rhapsody in Blue every time they see a United Airlines commercial…..
We need to promote and fund these kinds of programs and give our children a richer world than just science and math. What do you all think?