Take every chance you get to stand up for music in the schools. Send an email, sign an online petition, write a letter, or speak out at a school board meeting when you hear that music programs are on the chopping block. And not just in your own neighborhood.
We all need to band together to support students in every city where school boards are looking to cut costs by cutting out music. We can’t let the administrators shrink or totally annihilate K-12 music without the rest of us making a ruckus about it.
I just signed an online petition to support an effort to keep instrumental music in the K-12 curriculum in the Philadelphia Public Schools. I grew up in Philly, and while I haven’t lived there in years, this hits close to home. It shocks me that the Board of Education in the 5th largest city in the U.S., where music of every genre has its roots, doesn’t recognize the value of music in the schools.
K-12 music isn’t a luxury or add-on. When understood in context, music shows up as every bit as important as core subjects. What else facilitates the development of whole-brain thinking, collaboration, creativity, confidence, goal-setting, and so much more, while also providing a deep sense of pleasure and fulfillment that keeps students engaged?
The City of Buffalo, New York knows this battle all too well. Their school district administrators just decided to move forward with plans to eliminate more band programs, and cut many full-time instrumental positions in schools where those programs still exist. Apparently the district was offered instruments through VH1 Save the Music Foundation, but without music programs, there’s no one to play those instruments.
It’s the kids who are shortchanged when music becomes an extracurricular activity for only those who can afford private lessons. Down the line, our entire society will be shortchanged by the attitude that music is an incidental or inconsequential aspect of education.