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Let’s keep music in schools, mmk? by Mikael
February 21, 2013, 7:53 pm
Filed under: A Little Me, Good Things, Music

There’s something about a child’s enthusiasm for music that is quite inspiring.

I had a unique opportunity today to go help my aunt teach a class of third graders about news reporting. Little did I know that it would turn into a mini-concert… with both me and the students singing.

After explaining that I get to write, report and even edit a magazine for my job (thus how important good communication and writing skills are), we brought up the fact that I’m still very involved in music and musical theatre (I mean, hello! Joseph opens in less than a week and a half!). As soon as it was mentioned that I was in a musical, the kids immediately perked up and some even raised their hands to ask me questions. If I was expecting any kind of reaction, I still would have been overwhelmed by the response.

So I sang for the children. They requested something from Les Miserables. An impromptu performance of “I Dreamed a Dream” for third graders. It’s a sad-ish song, but their smiles were so hard not to mirror while singing.

And it was kind of awesome to hear the whispers of, “It’s so awesome having someone famous in here!” Because apparently, I’m famous. ;)

A few of the kids couldn’t contain their excitement about their own opera that they are performing next week. The teacher handed me the music and told me to sing along with them if I wanted to.

And the kids sang for me.

I can’t even tell you how heart warming it was. Though my near-pitch-perfect ears could pick out wrong notes, the enthusiasm and gusto with which the children sang really touched me. Almost every kid that had a solo sang it out loud and proud. The fact that the kids loved it so much to sing out, actually smiling and performing, was truly amazing. Some of them actually had quite good voices for being so young. So who cares if the notes are right or wrong as long as the kids enjoy it?

Photo Credit: billaday/Flickr

Photo Credit: billaday/Flickr

To be honest, I wonder what my elementary school education would have been like without music. Sure, I took voice and piano lessons outside of school, but being involved in music among your peers at school can seriously make such a difference. That’s where I learned to play the recorder and the choir concerts we would do were always my favorite school activity to participate in. Sometimes I even wished we could do music more often.

For one thing, music engages the whole brain which contributes to the children’s development in a very real and significant way. Music has an emotional, physiological and physical affect on everyone. Because music engages the whole mind, it can help kids think outside the box and understand abstract concepts better (I probably wouldn’t be as good at math without my background in music theory). Because of this, the teaching of music in schools is just as important as science, math and reading.

Music gives something the kids can look forward to and have fun with. It’s also a collective thing that students can do together. Plus it gives them permission to be loud and artistic–and creativity is simply needed in today’s world. You can’t expect to be successful by just doing the status quo.

When I hear about potential budget cuts affecting the arts and music in education, it makes my heart sore. Please don’t let this happen in your local school system. Please speak up to your legislators about it–tell them to keep the music in schools. Even if they don’t have the ambition to be a performer, music really can make a difference in a child’s life.

What was your favorite musical experience when you were a kid in school?

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

The arts are so, so important. I don’t want to think about school growing up without, without art classes and grade school theater and all those great things. You’re so right – fostering creativity is just as important as fostering math and science skills.

Comment by terra

thank you for helping to draw attention to music’s place in a child’s life. tony

Comment by t h i n g s + f l e s h

Of course! I think it’s super important… Anyone who says it isn’t needs a slap in the face.

Comment by Mikael




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