There is a demand for greater concentration upon
the traditional basics: English, math, science and history. There
is also a new focus on computer competency and a renewed focus on
the need for a foreign language. Add to this health education, family
life education, industrial arts education, AIDS education, home economics,
physical education and business education and one wonders where music
education fits in.
Plato once said, "Education in music is most sovereign because
more than anything else rhythm and harmony find there way to the inmost
should and take strongest hold upon it, bringing with them and imparting
grade if one is rightly trained. Why has the value of music education
eroded so dramatically from Plato's position on music education to
The idea of music education is good. Few will say they don't want
their kids to know something about music.
But few will say they don't want their kids to know something about
the "3-R's" & maybe
a lot about the "3-R's" and a little about history and science.
And, few want to extend school days or pay the taxes necessary to
increase teachers salaries to extend the day. Why should music be
a part of basic education? Why should it be up there with English,
math and science? Ernest Boyer says the "aesthetic literacy is
as basic as linguistic literacy."
He quotes John Ruskin who said that, "Great Nations write their
autobiographies in three manuscripts: the book of their deeds, the
book of their words, and the book of their art. Not one of these books
can be understood unless we read the two others, but of the three
the only trustworthy one is the last."
President Ronald Reagan said, "Civilizations are most often
remembered for their art and thought." He went on to say "I
have always believed in the definition of an educated man or woman
as one who could, if necessary, refound his or her civilization. That
means we must teach our students more than hard facts and floppy disks.
We must teach them the rich artistic inheritance of our culture and
an appreciation of how fine music enriches both the student who studies
it, and the society that produces it. The existence of strong music
and fine arts curricula are important to keeping the humanities truly
humanizing and liberal arts education, truly liberating."
When as music educators must accept the challenge of educating the
public. Educating the parents of our children in the value of music
education is equally important to the other educating we do in the
the classroom. One without the other will cause there to be a "fine
ending" to music education instead of repeat signs and da capos.
1 Plato, Republic 2 Boyer, Ernest 3 Ruskin, John 4 Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America
The question was asked why music should be a part of basic education. Here are some of the reasons:
1. "A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform" by
the National Commissioner on Excellence
in Education, recommends that high schools provide vigorous programs
in the fine and performing arts.
2. The College Board Report "Academic Preparation for College" includes
the arts as one of the six basics to be included
in the school curriculum..
3. John Goodlad, author of "A Place Called School" views the arts as one of the "five givers" of
human knowledge, along with mathematics
and science, literature and language, society and social studies,
4. Ernest Boyer's "High School: A Report on Secondary Education in America," lists
the arts as second curriculum priority,
after language, in the proposed core of common learning. This proposed
core includes nine subject areas. He goes on to say that music is
ranked first among subjects most liked by students and receives
high rankings in the areas of importance and difficulty.
5. Howard Gardner's "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences" states
that there are seven forms of intelligence:
linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily kinesthetic,
interpersonal and intrapersonal. None of these ought to have priority
over others. We must present and repeatedly reinforce why music
is basic and share with the students and parents what our goals
"Why music in education?" Some of
the reasons are:
1. Music contributes to the school and community environment (quality of life).
2. Music helps prepare students for a career and is an avocation.
3. Music makes the day more alive and interesting, which in turn leads to more learning.
4. Music combines behaviors to promote a higher order of thinking skills.
5. It provides a way to image and create, contribute to self-expression and creativity.
6. Music enriches life, it is a way to understand our cultural heritage as well as other past and present cultures. (see article by Bill Pharis)
7. Performing, consuming and composing are satisfying and rewarding activities.
8. Music contributes to sensitivity (see Gloria
Kiester's articleÑTeaching Music for "feelingful intelligence).
9. Music education provides for perceptualÑmotor
10. It encourages team work and cohesiveness.
11. It fosters creativity and individuality.
12. Music education adds to self-worth of participants.
13. Music education fosters discipline and commitment.
14. It is a major source of joy and achievement.
15. Music provides unique and distinct modes of learning (see article by Howard Gardner).
16. Music is a therapeutic outlet for human beings.
17. It is a predictor of life's success (see article by National Association of Secondary School Principals).
18. It develops intelligence in other areas (see articles by Wendell Harrison, Howard Gardner, Malcom Browne and Tom Cohen).
19. To provide success for some students who have difficulty with other aspects of the school curriculum.
20. To help the student realize that not every aspect of quantifiable and that it is important to cope with the subjective.
21. The music program is very cost-effective
(Se Save Your Music Program, John L.
Benham) What parent or child wouldn't
want the benefits of music education"