“MUSIC is my best friend.” I have heard this sentence a number of times over the last few months, most recently on Channel 10’s ‘The Voice’.
Each time it was said by a child or a young adult explaining that music, specifically playing or singing it, had been their haven because they were were being bullied at school. These instances have prompted me to examine my own relationship with music as a teenager. For me, my great love was the piano.
My nanna’s old piano was delivered to our house at a crucial time for me, as I too was being bullied at school. I played from the minute I woke up to the minute I went to bed. Playing the piano allowed me to express emotions I could not vocalise at that time in my life. Music was my best friend.
These days I no longer fill every second of my spare time with playing music. My house is filled with instruments that are barely used. But I do sing with Kantabile. And when I sing, I liken the feeling it gives me to a spiritual experience.
It has always been my strongly held belief that all children should be taught to read music from a young age, just as they learn maths, or learn to read words.
So many children do not have access to playing music at home. A strong musical curriculum in infants and primary schools would expose children to the joys playing music can bring that they might not be exposed to elsewhere.
Perhaps it won’t be for them, but imagine the talents that aren’t being unearthed purely because children do not have access. Imagine the joy opening up for children that learning music can bring.
As a parent, I try to pass on the benefits of music to my son. I was unhappy that his primary school placed no real value on music as a creative art. They focussed primarily on drama, as they have a strong, long-running (and very worthwhile) drama program.
The lack of any real musical curriculum was put down to the school not having teachers with a special interest in the subject. It points to music not being valued as it should be in the State school curriculum.
Thank goodness for the likes of Roger Griffiths, who has been introducing band programs to local schools, and giving children free tuition.
It is a sad indictment on our school curriculum that it is up to passionate outsiders to want to fill the gaps the education we pay for should be providing.
Julia Driscoll, www.manningrivertimes.com.au, www.msidallas.com