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Month of March dedicated to importance of music

Month of March dedicated to importance of music

By Malikah Williams

When budget proposals need to be discussed, one question is always raised, how to make up for the lost money.

One idea that might come to mind is cutting a school’s music program. But with March being ‘Music in Our Schools Month’, parents, teachers, and students attempt to show the influence and importance of music in schools.

Henrico County Schools cut their arts program, which included all 373 students in the Strings Alive Program, according to an April 2009 Richmond Times article. Later in the article, School officials in other central Virginia districts and the Tri-Cities said they are not making any cuts to arts programs.

The purpose of ‘Music in Our Schools Month’ is “to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children and to re- mind citizens that school is where all should have access to music.”

“Music is a fun thing to do and it’s some- thing I can really enjoy but still take seriously,” junior Doug Buchanan said. “It’s not as serious and hard as sports but you still have to drive and succeed to do well.”

With musical programs came various talents and interests, but the fundamental usefulness of music remains the same across the different music spectrums.

“Music is therapy and a way to have fun,” senior Antoine Smith said. “I have been writ- ing poetry since I was seven and I have been rapping since I was twelve.”

Along with a way to have fun and express emotion, involvement in musical programs appear to make an impact on one’s involvement in other activities as well, one reason why music programs should not be cut.
These involvements and other activities can range from more attending music, art, and dance classes nearly three times as frequently, participating in youth groups nearly four times as frequently, reading for pleasure nearly twice as often and performing community service more than four times as often.

Students involved in music programs or classes also are four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, three times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools, four times more likely to participate in a math and science fair, three times more likely to win an award for school attendance, and four times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem.

There are many benefits to having music in one’s personal life. Music offers different outlets of expression depending on what the person needs at the moment.

“Music helps me cope with the problems I’m going through, such as problems with girls, not having a father, my overprotective mother, and betrayal in my friendships,” Smith said.

Music in Our Schools Month was created in 1975 by the National Association for Music Education in order for music teachers to display what their classes are doing or to raise awareness about the lack of musical learning opportunities within their schools.

“I feel that there could be more classes to incorporate the needs and desires of our students,” Choir teacher Toni Luckett said. “Classes such as musical theatre class, music theory, women’s choir, and show choir.”

Some artists believe that there are not enough classes offered that specifically cater to their musical needs. “The school does not offer too much to musicians,” Smith said. “I am not saying that the school should bend over backwards but there should be information for musicians who would like to pursue a career.”

Through an array of music classes such as symphonic band, concert band, choir, and mixed ensemble are offered, students may not be interested in those exact classes.

“There are a lot of people who are interested in music in general and do not know how to pursue that interest,” senior Brandon Walton said. “Music Appreciation is not enough.”

“I did not want to take any of the classes here because there are not any offered for my type of music,” sophomore Douglas Davis said.

Learning about music presents new opportunities to learn about various other things as well.

“I feel that it is good for all students to take a music class whether they think they are musicians or not,” Luckett said. “It gives them knowledge of history and math and music.”

Music is not only about making sounds and being able to express creativity though. To Walton, it has a deeper meaning.

“Music is my life,” Walton said. “I cannot go a day without music.”

Though not every music program possible is offered, many student musicians plan to go beyond their high school career to explore their talents.

“I plan on going to college and getting my degree while still doing my music on the side,” Walton said. “I was told if you have a dream to chase it. You never know if you can achieve it if you do not try.”

Even to adults and teachers, music opens up many different outlets.

“Music means that I can be who I want to be,” Luckett said. “ I have had to become comfortable with my voice as an artist, learning new music and perfecting it gives me a great sense of accomplishment.”

The opportunities offered by learning more about music and pursuing musical goals are limitless. In a time of difficulty for many teenagers, music offers solace.

“I can do whatever I want in music,” Smith said. “But I cannot do whatever I want inside of life.”

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    Conner StevensonMay 20, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    I feel as if music is a great outlet for students. It may be simply listening to it even sitting down and writing their own. The stresses of the student could really benefit from dedicating a little time to music, be it five minutes, for an hour, it can really help to lift the feeling of being overwhelmed.

  • D

    Diana OwensMay 6, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    I could feel the emotion of the students. They expressed music as a way of life what most people feel. We have a lot of artists in our districts it’s just hard to see them do something in school. Although most come out during our talent shows.