Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. – Maya Angelou
It is a good day to be a Tiger!
Funding for the Arts in public schools always seems to be at the forefront of the chopping block whenever a community is confronted with a budgetary crisis. This means, when the amount of money a community is able to spend on a school is reduced, typically the first program that is affected or even removed from that school is the art, music and drama departments. I believe the mentality here is that a school district needs to decide its priorities and it would seem math, science and language arts classes are more of a necessity than choir, marching band and theater.
It’s been argued that school athletics bring more money into the school district and ultimately carry more popularity among the community than the arts, so it’s no surprise that typically the athletics programs are not considered when money is tight. It would seem that placing scholastic basics and athletics above the arts program would be the obvious choice, however, I feel when it comes to arts programs so much is overlooked in regards to importance.
I began playing guitar in seventh grade and I instantly fell in love with it. I was not a kid that cared for school when I was in seventh grade, or any of the grades after seventh grade. I believe I was highly intelligent and I had a lot of energy, but I got bored easily and, frankly, I was an odd child. Many of the teachers I had throughout junior high and high school tried to connect with me and get me involved, but I simply wasn’t having it. I would go so far as to say, had I not been given the opportunity to play guitar I would have dropped out of school. I can recall the first four periods of the day being filled with math, english and science classes and after lunch I had PE, music and choir classes. A huge incentive to excel at my core classes in the morning was the knowledge that if I could make it through the day I would get to play guitar in my music teacher’s office for an hour.
This seems to be a trend with a lot of students. Many of us that are not athletic and belong to a fringe of odd kids have a tendency to embrace the arts in school. Band nerds. Theater geeks. Anime freaks. Music and the arts have provided so many of us with a sort of haven where we have gained confidence, made friendships and learned how to learn. Practicing and rehearsing the guitar or spending hours after school at play practice, I feel, wired my brain with the tools needed to retain information. Much like memorizing lines, singing in a choir or playing in an ensemble, memorizing equations and working on a group science project employs the same areas of a student’s brain. Having a student study and perform in the arts departments is a means of training a student to perform in the academic fields.
To say studying the arts is a necessary part of receiving a quality education is, in my view, an understatement.
Take the time to notice and celebrate the beauty in your world this week.
One Town. One Team. One Family.