Music Programs Going Flat

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?


About Daniel

Life is grand. This is the story of a new family, a recently married couple and their honeymoon baby girl. Life throws at you some fastballs, and then some curveballs.
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4 Responses to Music Programs Going Flat

  1. Oh, I completely agree with you about the need for these kinds of musical/artistic/creative programs. When I was in school, we had several different kinds of music clubs (orchestra, jazz band, barbershop quartet, etc) and theater groups (one for small productions, one for larger, one for student directors to show their stuff). So reading about the state of music in DC schools really is a downer….

  2. redhatmandan says:


    Right on. Yeah, forgot all about jazz band.

    When I see stories like this I just keep thinking back to Dead Poets Society:

    John Keating: We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

  3. jaimeanne says:

    The part that these NCLB geniuses forgot is that music improves their knowledge of math and science. Give me a kid that can play an instrument, and I’ll give you a kid that understands algebra, geometry, chemistry, and physics as long as they have decent (not even the “highly qualified”) teachers. Give me another kid that wants to know music, but can’t because we’re putting too much money into math and science ed and in the end, he’ll know neither.

    When will we learn not to cut off our nose to spite our face?

  4. Jaime's Mom says:

    Peter Jennings had a special on ABC in 1980. It had to do with the 7 kinds of intelligence humans have. I bet the average high school education involves far less than that. Granted, school isn’t everything but in some instances, our tax dollars should go to different places.

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