Listen to the lyrics of two contemporary poets/musicians, Bob Dylan and Jimmy Buffet. You will readily conclude, “An intellectual person is an individual who says a simple thing in a difficult way; an artist is a person who says a difficult thing in a simple way.”
What follows are some random notions about education and the value of art education, particularly music.
There seems to be a built-in cultural tendency to eliminate school art programs during a “perceived” revenue shortfall.
Students find their interest in a variety of subjects. Interest is a force that trumps aptitude. The research is replete with the benefits of music in all subject areas.
The most significant policy statement made by the school board is the adoption of the annual budget and of course the employee contracts that consume about 90% of the revenue. The budget is a political document, in that it states who will get what and why.
If you do not like something, get after your favorite board member. Build a “critical mass” to support your values. Do not take “that is the law or policy” for an answer. Remember we the people.
Art is a civilization’s signature, and of all art forms music ranks first because it best ministers to human need. It is amazing what students learn studying music in all of its forms. They learn how to be patient, wait their turn and respect each other and even how to peacefully assemble to protest to bring about change. These are all attributes that are necessary in a democratic society. Music is team building as much as sports. Music is mathematical. It is history. It is physical education.
Music teaches proper breathing and exercises the voice muscles. I know of no discipline where music can not be integrated to enhance learning or vice versa. All that it takes is an effective teacher, a willing student and supportive parents. A positive attitude and individual responsibility is basic for success in school and life.
We teach music:
Not that we expect one to major in music…
Not that we expect one to play or sing all one’s life…
Not so one can relax…
Not so one can have fun,
So one will be human…
So you will recognize beauty…
So you will be sensitive…
So you will be closer to an infinite beyond this world…
So you will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good — in short, a good life.
That is why we teach music, be it instrumental or voice. The voice in itself is a beautiful instrument.
Of what value will it be to make a prosperous living unless you know how to live?
I believe that education is an empowering process that allows and guides children to develop their passions, critical thinking, compassion and orientation toward wisdom for timely action. The overall object of K-12 education, as a whole, is not to produce hands for industry or to teach the young on how to make a living. It is to produce responsible citizens equipping students for careers that will come along the way.
Now back to music. Music does build character. “For changing people’s manners and altering their customs, there is nothing better than music.” Shu Ching, 6th Century BC. Music is the food of love.
John Rajcic is a Ramona resident and school board member who stresses that this is his opinion as an individual and he is not representing the board.
Article by John Rajcic – published in Ramona Sentinel