Tag Archives: Arts Education

Music and Arts Education Advocacy Quote of the Day (April 18, 2011)

Virtually every creativity expert concurs – all children are creative, yet we often lose our capacity for creativity as we get older and diminish our creative activities. That brings us to today’s music and arts education advocacy quote of the day:

“Creativity is like a muscle. It gets stronger with use, and withers with inactivity. If we cut music and arts education funding, where will our children exercise?” 

– Craig M. Cortello

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Music and Arts Education, Tiger Moms, and Lessons in Parenthood

As a lifelong musician, music advocate, and music writer, I weighed the importance of avoiding the temptation to be an overbearing parent with the desire that my only child would follow suit and take up an instrument. A small piano, another keyboard, an assortment of guitars, and a willing mentor in the house provided a nurturing environment. When he finally came to me at the age of 9 or 10 and expressed an interest in trumpet or drums, we drove to a nearby music store. A few licks on the drums brought a smile to his face, and we were off and running.

The first 6 months he seemed enthusiastic. The ensuing 6 months required frequent reminders that practice was necessary, and the final 6 months were torture – for both of us. Lectures about the importance of commitment, the cost of drums and lessons, etc., etc., etc.

I came to the realization that perhaps his arts education journey would be different from mine. I told him that I would support whatever he wanted to pursue, and that we could take a music hiatus for the summer while he played baseball and also pursued his newfound joy – photography. At the end of the summer, we wanted a decision before continuing.

When the summer was over, he came to us and said that he had decided that photography was really what he enjoyed. We committed to him that we would match whatever amount of money he saved on his own to put toward a nice camera. And for the last couple of years, it’s clear that he has the photography (or shutter) bug.

Some parents are more demanding than others, and the recent buzz about “Tiger Moms” has rekindled the discussion about how strong a hand parents should rule with. Of course, there’s still no blueprint to parenthood. It’s still an art more than a science, in my estimation.

Lesson: One of my concerns with standardized testing and the pressure that kids face at such an early age is that childhood should be a time of exploration, not of narrowing their focus. Expose your kids to a world of possibilities and they will choose to narrow their path when it’s appropriate – and they’ll have the benefit of making an informed decision.

There are obviously many challenges still ahead for these parents of one. But if my pride in my 13 year-old son’s work is any indication of the job I’ve done as a parent, then I guess things will turn out okay. Here’s a sample of work from Michael Cortello, aspiring New Orleans Photographer:

Michael Cortello photography

Looking for CEOs to Jump on the Arts Education Train

Previously we posted an impressive list of CEOs of Canadian High-Tech Companies who signed on to a letter advocating liberal arts and a balanced approach to education. We later posted an additional list of CEOs and executives advocating the arts.

Looking for more CEOs and Business Leaders to get on board the arts advocacy train. Any high-ranking CEOs and executives willing to support the following simple statement will be acknowledged here:

“We support funding of arts education as core subjects in our educational institutions. The 21st century workplace requires innovative and creative minds, and arts education is a critical component in the development of the skills necessary to compete in a global marketplace.

“Our employees with a diverse education have increased their value to our companies, our economy, our culture, and themselves.”

Arts Education & the Changing Workplace

“The nation’s top business executives agree that arts education programs can help repair weaknesses in American education and better prepare workers for the 21st century.”

“The Changing Workplace is Changing Our View of Education.” Business Week, October 1996.

“FROM THE BAND ROOM TO THE BOARDROOM…The 9 Common Lessons of Music Education That Translate into Success”

National Call-in Day to Save Educator Jobs

Today is National Call-in Day to Save Educator Jobs. If you haven’t already done so, please voice your support by calling 866-608-6355.

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: 

E-mail letter:

“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.”

Twitter message

Support educ funding, teaching positions, & necessary funding. Include music and arts ed., a necessary element of effective 21st cent. educ

Amazing Pantene Commercial, The Future of Advertising, & Why We Need the Arts in Education

This amazing Pantene commercial is extraordinary on several fronts. Number one, it illustrates the future of advertising. In a 21st century multi-media world, you can sell with just facts and information – you’ve got to engage hearts and minds, while entertaining your audience. It also illustrates why we need the arts in our schools. Now more than ever, the sensitivities of the artist are needed in the business world. Notice how subtle yet powerful the message of the sponsor is – the product Pantene doesn’t appear until the final 5 seconds of the video. Brilliant!

Art For Art’s Sake, Music for Music’s Sake

We spend a lot of time justifying arts education from all different angles. That’s fine. But let’s not lose sight of what’s important. More and more in the future, as we see that our insatiable appetites for consumerism fail to satisy our hunger for happiness, our choices will be driven by quality of life determinations. Here’s what a colleague has to say about justifying the arts:

“In education, there is a connection between all of the pieces,” said Michael Guillot, former Vice-President for Patron Services and Chief Advancement Officer for the North Carolina Symphony. “Language, music, mathematics, and science are connected to our cognitive functioning. Any time I improve cognitive functioning in one place, odds are I’m going to get it in other places as well.

“But I’ve got to tell you, the other case we make is that in and of itself, art is worthy. If it had no effect on those others, it really wouldn’t matter. It is a pursuit of quality of life, of personal joy, of meaning…And I don’t want to get away from that.”

Amen.