Please Support Music Education

Music education is more than just education. It's integration, it's culture. Those who can play music can change the world. Throughout American History music has been a force towards integration, equality and justice.

To have music education is to enrich.  To deny it is to impoverish. If

For these reasons and many others, I would like to encourage all music lovers to support music education at all levels, and of all kinds. Supporting public school music programs, classical music theory and history through music is to enrich us all.

Thank you,

There’s no classical music theory. There’s however music theory for all types of music called solfeggio. Learning music theory without given talent of natural hearing for music is waste of time. Hearing for music can’t develop. Either it’s there or it’s not and pushing music onto public schools for everyone isn’t fair.

Wow, i cant even begin to respond to that.

I'm a musician & can't go one single day without listening to music but you can't encourage people to be passionate about music. It's in your blood or not.


That’s a really odd reply. I am suggesting we spend a lot less on education than other nations, and that making music education available to all is important.

If students are never exposed to music, they can never be passionate about it. I’m not suggesting we should make musicians, or force people to like music. I am saying we are impoverishing our children by denying them the opportunity to learn at an early age.  Just like we do with art or history.  Music is more than something you buy. It's how you connect with and affect your peers.

In the US we spend less on music education than any other industrialized nation.  That's the definition of poverty to me.


If students are never exposed to music, they can never be passionate about it. 

How are they not being exposed to any music?
I didn't say "not exposed to ANY music" There's a difference between having iTunes and having a musical literacy.

How does this happen? Lack of education.

Of course they are exposed to something, but the child who doesnt' learn about x type of music will never know if he/she likes it. Do we really want to leave it up to the commercial radio stations to educate our children about music and music from around the world?

Personally I grew up misically deprived had minimal exposure to music. It wasn't until I was in college that I realized how little I knew, or could appreciate.

This is something other countries feel passionate about educating their children in, and so share in the responsibility at the school level.

Of course, you don't have to think this is important.  I do. I think I want to live in a country in which music is part of every child's education, one way or another, and in a culture that is continuously enriched by those students.


What would be the syllabus for this music education? 
A worthwhile notion, Erik.

When I was coming along in the 70’s, my high school did not happen to offer a music program, but it was an exception, most schools did. I’m sure the internet, video games and social media have changed the focus of the masses, to the detriment of other things of leisure, like listening to music or playing outdoors or whatever.

But, now more than ever, music is thought of as just a is to be bought, sold, downloaded, uploaded, marketed - and marketed as an object of fandom or even to the point of some kind of worship in some industry always in search of the "next big thing" - and into manipulating the public to buying into that as much as possible (cruise Amazon’s music section and see what all they throw at you to induce you to buy).

But, when a young person takes the time to learn how to play an instrument, I think something a bit miraculous begins to happen...I don’t think it matters much at all if they are playing because they want to set the world on fire some day or if they just want to see if they can manage the basics and play for themselves, a huge underlying part of an **appreciation** of music can be gained from just coming to grips with the understanding of just how difficult and challenging it can be to master not just the instrument, but music itself. I don’t think that’s some kind of punishment, on the contrary, it’s enlightenment. And like the music itself, the understanding of what it may take to create it is a form of awareness. I suspect that can often be the point in a young mind at which music ceases being the commodity society continually programs us to accept, and starts to become what it really is - an art form.

As a result, a young music student may then glimpse deeper insights into what they feel music is - whether good music or bad - not because they are more "educated" than others or because they are some kind of experts at music theory, but because they’ve taken the time and energy to involve themselves directly with it’s creation.

Just the sort of antidote to the effects of a mass-market society you might like to have around, I would think.
Music isn't about education. It's about talent combined with courage and desire to learn. Talent + courage and desire = Musician.

I often blast an analogy example the last dialogue between Beatrix Kiddo and Bill when Bill explained that Superman was born a Superman and wakes up as a Superman. Same with musician.

Well damn, you are right.  All those college programs and music schools are just a load of crap. Can't believe they make money at that.

czarivey just may be what we'd call a "music snob"...s'cool, not uncommon at all, really. 

"...Superman was born a Superman and wakes up as a Superman. Same with a musician."  

Juilliard graduates, for example, have included: Miles Davis, Itzhak Perlman, Bernard Herrmann, Yo-Yo Ma and others. 

I'm sure they all could've gone to any music school, but maybe you should've asked one of them, or any of Juilliard's current crop, if **they** see themselves as "waking up as a Superman" every day...I don't really know myself what any of them would in fact say, but it might be an interesting question to pose.

Great musicians have been made without music school, but suggesting that music schools have little or no positive effect on music or musicians, to me, is a bit blind.
The evidence is quite clear that exposure to music education at an early age develops better cognitive skills and not only enhances communication ability, but also math comprehension. These are skills that even if jr. is not gifted with natural born musical talents, will benefit the child the rest of his/her life. Also, in the divisive world we live in, music should be a common denominator that we can all enjoy. Not allowing children this opportunity is sad. 
Juilliard graduates, for example, have included: Miles Davis, Itzhak Perlman, Bernard Herrmann, Yo-Yo Ma and others.
Once again it’s Talent + Courage and they were all waking up as musicians from day 1.

You miss half the point of music education. All of elementary education isn’t about getting a job. All of music education isn’t about making great musicians. It’s about literacy the same way that exposure to great writers from around the world is.

What good is Yo Yo ma in a world where everyone else is an illiterate consumer of whatever pablum comes down the music industry next?

Not having musically literate citizens is like having citizens who are illiterate in math or science, or history.

How many of these great musicians have made it a priority to go back and teach themselves?  I think that alone speaks volumes about whether they feel music education is worthwhile, but again, music education includes history, culture, politics. It's not just about whether person X has the mojo or not.


Thank god my surgeon didn’t go to school. He woke up one day and started cutting a PB&J sandwich and said "Hey, I’m pretty good!"

The entire San Francisco orchestra is like that too. No education at all, in fact the conductor him/hserself is really just there to keep the whining down. Truth is they don’t need him.  Just a little advice from the salesperson at the music store and they were concert ready.  Yep, hear it all the time.  Every radio show I ever hear with great young musicians, they say this.  Their teachers suck and it's by pure grit they got to where they are.

Maxnewid, well said. 
By the way, Miles Davis quit that school after a year, I think. But he asked for his father's opinion before doing it, and though his father had doubts, there was no objection.
Yes, music and other kinds of 'organized sounds' are extremely important for development, communication and sense of belonging. There are serious articles on the subject.
I'm not here to promote 1 single narrative about how music culture happens. Some do best in school, some learning elsewhere. I'm lucky to be able to listen to both.

Some, like Winton Marsalis, feel it is so important they devote some of their time to teach music as history, and music as culture to anyone who would listen, musician and lay person alike.  This goes far beyond teaching performance, he is a convincing advocate that music is never just about music, and education isn't just about jobs and product.


Czarivey, courage is a talent too, wouldn't you agree?

 Juilliard graduates, for example, have included: Miles Davis, Itzhak Perlman, Bernard Herrmann, Yo-Yo Ma and others.

czarivey said: "Once again it’s Talent + Courage and they were all waking up as musicians from day 1."

If that’s all it comes down to, then why did they even desire to go to music school?
Because the ones born with talent and courage want to become better or best.

One wasn't born with such may only desire and given that as a fact, ones that desire even without talent can achieve some limited results. 

Providing solfeggio or music theory in public schools is mostly useless. That requires student to be able to sing over the sheet music and ones that weren't born with natural hearing for music will never ever succeed and always have bad grades.

Public schools can introduce classical music and jazz in free form listening lessons-sessions with no grading involved, but that's about as far as it can go.

Yea, all I'm sayin' is to tame your fanatic activism and think what actually can be done and HOW instead of blindly promoting an idea that is in general good, but there are known limitations to deal with. Have y'all been introduced to solfeggio or piano keyboard and at least singing basics before you start judging what's needed/not? It's HARD work for those who has talent and natural hearing for music and school such as Jilliard or Berkeley should intent to make it easier for gifted and talented. Has any of these world's known schools of music taken ones with no natural hearing of music huh? 

I've been born with natural talent for music and had been picking up tunes on my harmonica since I was 4, but having no sufficient courage and parental support, I did not succeed to professional level, but at least learned to appreciate the hard work necessary to achieve a descent level of musician. Even after you're pro, you'll need to practice and learn new repertoire on daily bases before, during and after group, band or orchestra rehearsals.

Your OP is certainly worthwhile and Czarivey's response is what it is.  I agree that making music education available to public school students is valuable - for pretty much the reasons that you state.  Will that type of exposure create a musical "great" where one would otherwise not have been?  Who knows? (Other than Czarivey, I guess.).  

Broader cultural education is IMO a good idea that's getting lost in the cost cutting pressures of the modern world.  As you note, that means that it's up to those of us who care to provide support. And I, along with many others in our community, do just that.  Through pretty extensive fund raising activities for our school system, a fairly big group of active parents has allowed the school to provide music, art, and other programs that were not otherwise doable within the schools' budgets.

We can not support music and buy bombs at the same time, therefore music has to go. If we don't support defense "ISIS" (I forgot how to spell ALKIDA)   gonna gitcha.

No matter what intellectual reasons you give for supporting musical education in public schools, the discussion here is no more than mental gymnastics.

Sorry I busted the bubble.
Courage isn't talent. It's one of the partial derivatives. Billy Joel is clear example. He dropped out from public school early, because he had a GOAL to become musician and songwriter and decided not to waste his time and get into practicing for as long as possible. He had lots of private instructors and lots if personal courageous practice times to become world know songwriter and musician with multi-talent (Yea I can call him musician indeed).

So in math terms, Courage can be derived at least from Talent and Goal. 

No talent and natural hearing for music, trust me, no Jilliard no Berkely or no any other types of music schools will accept anyone without natural talents and perhaps never will. There's no program yet in the whole world created to 'train' these qualities in young humans. So is there anyone with experience on how to 'train' hearing for music and how far it can get to make sense? 

I find it odd that czarivey has such conviction on this subject yet, starts threads such as  (artists that died) well, you know....
+++... "The King Of?... disco.... and SO on....
Music education-- to address CZ’s point- isn’t about teaching people to be musicians. It is all about exposure. Who knows, someone who has only been exposed to pop music of a specific genre may find beauty in the precision of Bach. And, it isn’t just about the warhorses of classical western music either. Music is one way into understanding culture and history. But, that kind of exposure and "education" has to come early, I think-
I don’t know what public schools currently do- I gather that for some arts, the teachers are really 3d party contractors. One of our former neighbors actually built a business bringing music education to public schools in NYC.
It is an amazing process when you see kids who haven’t necessarily had the opportunity and do have talent catch the fever. I’ve been involved in a few of those programs- kids that would have never been exposed to dance, music or other performing arts. This also ties into the discipline of learning more generally. Granted, this is a small fraction of the population, and even fewer are likely to go on to careers as artists. But, the more general baseline of information and exposure--everything from rural blues to classical, eastern music to some of the roots of modern rock/pop/soul can be fun and engaging. Probably not a bad thing for adults either....
Thanks Whart!

Here I am trying to enrich children's lives and it gets hijacked by a discussion about what makes a great musician.