Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why Can't We Keep the Music Teacher?: Losing Arts in Schools.

I sat, mesmerized, as the music teacher coaxed the most beautiful songs out of 30-40 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.  This was not the first time. I have been to many of her concerts, and I am always amazed.

I'm not amazed at what she does, because I know it is a gift that she possesses. I am amazed at how effortless it seems. When you watch her with those kids, all you witness is the final product. You don't see the weeks and weeks of work that went into getting that many kids, to learn that many songs, and to sing them well, to harmonize.

And then you find out she's been fired, let go, riffed, or whatever term they use to explain that they are letting you go, and you sigh. Deeply. You wonder who would make such a choice to let go of this person. This person who can take kids, even the ones most people deem "behavior problems", and turn them into this group of kids whose voices touch your heart.

We need people like her. We need people who are not  "testers", but teachers. We need people who can take our kids, the "good" ones, the  troubled,  the struggling, and make them believe that, "Yes, there is something I can do. I can sing!"

Someone who gives our kids a chance to dress up in the pretty dresses and handsome suits, stand in front of their parents, giggling, taking deep breaths, fidgeting, squirming, waving hello, and then...belting out a song that makes you so, so, proud of them. A moment some of them NEED so badly.

If we can give millions to Pearson, to create tests that are meaningless, why can't we keep a music teacher? If we can pay data coaches, who have never taught a day in their life, why can't we keep a music teacher? If every year, we can purchase books form authors who have been out of the classroom for years, yet want to tell us how to teach, why can't we keep a music teacher?

Someone tell me, why can't we keep a Music teacher, who changes so many lives with a song, every single year?

1 comment:

  1. As a music teacher I will tell you why: Music (along with the other arts) are not valued in our culture. The things music teaches ...creative thinking and problem solving, discipline, logic and improvisation within a form...are not valued in a culture where instant fame and wealth come in the form of TV reality shows and American Idol. Struggling 20 years to become a master musician??? Nah...better to memorize the standardized test questions rather than ask any your own questions such as "what if I play D# over G?"