I'll be honest, I started to read the October #blogamonth prompt and didn't get halfway through before I knew EXACTLY what was going to transpire in my blog. When I re-read the prompt later, I realized that the number 1 suggestion was indeed "Cutting Arts in schools to focus on Math and Science."
Flashback to my Freshman year of High School during Political Science class, we had to write our first "persuasive essay" on a controversial topic and then present our research and findings to the class in a 15 minute presentation. I remember that presentation like it was yesterday - I volunteered to present first, because music was my passion and I loved talking. Back then, I was a total band nerd. Not much has changed, but I fully embrace it these days. Excitedly, I pulled out my essay... as well as my tri-fold board decorated with music notes, research, and quotes from my Band and Orchestra friends. I brought the entire class candy whistles, which kept everyone very well engaged throughout my presentation. My teacher immediately graded my project, giving me 105 for going above and beyond - it's what we do as musicians, and as Arts teachers. We are always doing more, fighting harder, and advocating to keep our passion in the schools. My project, which I still reflect on daily was called "Music Education =Brain Power."
I entered my research into the Science Fair one year, they weren't quite as impressed as my Political Science teacher. I continued to use "Music Education" as my topic for all essays throughout the rest of high school and into college. In all my years of schooling (whether it be as a student or as a teacher), I've never met a musician that wasn't passionate. That passion is what guides us, and we'll keep on fighting ['til the end].
A fabulous moment occurred in one of my 3rd grade classes two weeks ago. We were reviewing rhythms and counting notation, when I decided to divide a measure of music like a pizza pie. As we were going over the half notes, quarter notes, eighth notes and sixteenth notes - a student shouts out "Why are we doing math in music class?" I was overjoyed at this revelation and MORE than happy to answer - "Music is Math! And Language! And so much more!"
As a music teacher, the majority of my lessons are integrated with another subject. It's nearly impossible to teach music without integration - because music is everything. Music is math, language, history, science - yes, sound is science!
As I was browsing Facebook last week, I came across this devastatingly awful image/article that continued to pop up on my feed (because so many of my friends are Arts educators).
Really, NBC? Now ALL my friends are on their soapbox! Click on the image to read the article, "Dear NBC, Define Useless."
The author says, “To be an artist goes beyond usefulness; it is essential to the very nature of our humanity." -Allison Caw. I'm right there with you, Allison.
And on that note, I'll step off my soapbox and leave you with my favorite quote by Plato:
“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning”