Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Yet Another Study Reveals that Studying Music is Good for Young Minds

Ironically, these findings come at a time when 1.3 million of the nation’s public elementary school students receive no specific instruction in music—and the children who do not have access to music education are disproportionately those who attend high-poverty schools. While wealthier school districts can compensate for budget cuts that reduce or eliminate music programs with private funding, low-income school districts cannot, so the kids who might benefit most from music education are often the least likely to get it. “One certainly hopes,” Iversen says, “that the results of these kinds of studies will cause a re-evaluation of the role of arts education in schools.”
Everybody reading this probably already knows the findings of the latest study about why music should be part of every child's education, particularly in districts where money is not flowing, but I thought I'd share this new article from the The Atlantic by Lori Miller Kase here anyway.


Anonymous said...

The complaint about budget cuts is mostly malarkey. My brother-in-law was a primary grades teacher with the LAUSD, who played Beethoven string trios and such when the kids came into and left his classes. This wasn't music education as a class, but rather math and remedial subjects for Hispanic kids from the barrio. They got to look forward to it, as they did with learning to draw things by breaking apart pix into component pieces. This cost his teaching time nothing special, but he was forced to abandon these as the administrators from "on high" came to demand he stop playing -- and I quote -- that "shit." So it is bureaucracy hating culture, at least in this case, all the while crying about budgets.

Elaine Fine said...

From what I know the elementary schools in the LAUSD can vary greatly, and I don't doubt for a moment your brother-in-law's report about the actions of the "deaf" administrators. It's too bad that kids have to suffer because of the whims of adults who want to maintain their "power."

This attitude comes from a generation (or two) deprived of an education fortified with art and music. It makes me very sad. It's one reason I tend to find more like-minded people in their 70s, 80s, and 90s.

The school system in the town where I live abandoned its string program 30 years ago when school districts all over the country were forced to do so during the 80s recession.

Kids who want to play have to seek out (and pay for) private teachers in the area, and, through the luck of the draw and the roll of the dice (i.e. musical spouses moving to town) they are fortune to have good ones.

The school system here doesn't have the money to re-create a string program, and it seems to support a band program mainly so it can have a band to play for football games.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the "attitude come from a generation deprived of an education fortified with art and music." I think it is an enforcement of a different aesthetic in which what we think of as classical -- not "classic" rock and such -- is heavily disliked while pop music is favored, and this finds its way into the administrators' edicts. Note that while my brother-in-law simply played music as a background to other things, that was met with a cease and desist from an upper class management mentality. I think it broader than just an economic issue. After all the LAUSD just tried to roll out Apple products for bunches of kids, while playing an old 33 1/3 recording cost nothing in comparison. I think it is a cultural war, and we are losing. This includes those string programs, but also choruses and listening courses. My brother-in-law is now deceased, and I have no more interaction with the LAUSD because the few others I have known, including a neighbor, are become part of that cultural war. Pop music is the new game and it is winning the consumer war as the cultural war, I say sadly. So do the financials of the pop music companies, MTV and the "rap" and "gangsta" artists prove, because "artists" now they are. A Beethoven string trio has no more place in that company than a model T at NASCAR. We've lost. Meanwhile those school systems have far more money than they did before, so saying more money would return classical music education to the public schools seems false. More money would just go elsewhere, and the cultural war would continue. String trios in public schools? Not going to happen, probably ever again. Certainly not at the LAUSD.