I once interviewed the Development Director for a symphony organization, and he said that when he speaks to representatives from major donor organizations, most were involved in music programs as a child – and that’s the danger of cutting school music programs – the number of individuals who “buy in” to the power and benefits of music education is likely to diminish.
I recently listened to an interview with Dr. Richard Fratianne and a burn patient regarding the benefits of music therapy as a healing aid. Interesting that Dr. Fratianne indicated that music was an integral part of his upbringing.
The great folks at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) organized a week of advocacy activities in Washington to help continue the fight for music education. NAMM staff, members, and Washington insiders attended, and GRAMMY-nominated singer Taylor Dayne and Journey keyboardist/songwriter Jonathan Cain articulated the impact that music education and music teachers had on their lives:
“Miss Kyzowski, Mr. Dagan, Miss Edwards. 30 years later I can still remember their names because these people were three of the most influential people in my life,” Dayne said. “They were my music teachers and they helped me find my own voice. My music teachers believed in me more than I believed in myself and music class was my safe place.”
“In 1958, I went to a school that burned to the ground and 100 kids died. My way out of it was music,” Cain said. “My father bought me an accordion after the fire and it became my best friend. Music was my escape and my salvation. And that’s what we have to remember when decisions are made to cut music classes out of schools.”
These are 2 themes that we’ve articulated in this forum previously:
- Music and arts teachers can play a critical role in helping students develop self-esteem and inspire them to reach their potential.
- Students see music as a part of their identity, so much so that they often can’t consider life without it
When I conducted the research for my book, I asked many of the participants to identify their significant music teachers/mentors by name and I acknowledged them in the text, because I know from my own experience how lasting that impact can be. It was also interesting that professionals who had conquered the business world and achieved great success by any reasonable measure, often still identified themselves first and foremost as musicians.
Thanks again to NAMM for championing this effort and organizing these activities.
To read the complete press release with a summary of the week’s events, click here.
If you’d like to write, e-mail, or even tweet your congressional representatives, here’s the link.
I’ve also included a couple of brief templates for e-mail or twitter:
“Please support education and resist the temptation to eliminate education jobs. I would ask that you allocate any emergency funding measures needed to prevent such cuts. I would also ask that in particular, you support music and arts education as a necessary requirement in preparing our students for the 21st century workplace that will demand creativity, innovation, and other skills developed through artistic expression.
The only long-term solution for our nation to overcome these economically challenging times is through education. Please demonstrate your commitment by providing the resources necessary to ensure adequate staffing and to allow our dedicated teaching professionals to do their jobs.”
Support educ funding, teaching positions, & necessary funding. Include music and arts ed., a necessary element of effective 21st cent. educ