J – Each day, at school, I experience some of the most amazing and yet horrible emotions at the exact same moment in time. Every time my teaching is questioned I get a pit in my stomach, but I have to remember that every issue raised provides me with an amazing opportunity to let people in to the world of music education. AND.. to let people, teachers, students and parents in on who I am as a teacher and my goals for every student that comes into my classroom.
To give a little bit of background- Waynflete is very supportive of the Performing Arts. They set aside blocks of time 2 0r 3 times a week for the students to explore who they are as actors, musicians, singers, improvisers, dancers, and even videographers. On paper this sounds marvelous. However, I am finding that what is currently in place does not support an environment where students can learn and grow as an artist, but instead dabble in a number of different art forms.
So this raises the question.. Why should the arts be in school? Why is music as important as math or science? Would it be okay if students learned half of their multiplication tables or perhaps just learn a few grammar rules but never learn how to put together an essay or a research paper, or understand the basic structure of a sentence?
So, why do we insist on just giving students a fun time in their Arts classes? Why is it okay to teach them a particular piece of music but not teach them the important essential learnings of being a part of a singing ensemble, or rather, being a musician? Let’s just read a book in english class but not discuss it. Or let’s just write an essay without knowing the important elements that are apart of every writing process. ISN’T IT OBVIOUS!
If you haven’t figured it out.. I do not believe that it is acceptable for students to just “dabble” in the arts. My guess is that those who think this may be fighting to keep their program alive at this very moment. No matter how short their time is with me, it IS important for them to gain a certain set of musical, social and even civic skills AND be actively involved throughout this incredibly complex but amazing musical learning adventure.
We are constantly fighting for music to be a part of the school day and be viewed as one of the “core” subjects…So let’s prove that it IS! Maybe, just maybe we wouldn’t have to fight so hard if we demonstrated this in the classroom.