This I Believe

Dr. Harry - Oak Park, Illinois
Entered on May 7, 2007

For This I Believe

I believe that music education and music performance is the right of all citizens

Despite their economic circumstances. Music is the most fundamental of languages, exhibited at birth with the universal birth cry. Babies respond to lullabies, palm tickles, knee rides, and mother’s and father’s voice. Later, we learn our native languages through song, game, rhymes and chants. This is true the world over. One of the differences between Man and animals is the conceptualization of rhythm and melody. Our ancestors grouped together to form societies primarily through the use of rhythm and song. The development of Religion would be unthinkable without song to enhance worship. The major events of human life, birth, naming, rites of passage, marriage, death, are all celebrated with music. Educators have known for years, and research bears it out, that music enhances and improves academic achievement, especially in the mathematical, conceptual, and creative areas. Self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as fine and gross motor skills are improved through musical performance. Human beings gain a high level of skill development by studying a musical instrument or voice. We learn to cooperate in a group for the betterment of the whole in an orchestra, chorus, or jazz ensemble. Our patriotic spirits are kindled when the uniform forces of this country sing and play together on July 4th. Even our common cultural styles are influenced by what we hear, and thus what sells. Music has the power to influence! Plato knew that, and speaks of that in his Republic. If this is so, why do we prevent most people from participating in musical activities, especially in the schools, which is the place where the common cultural heritage is taught? Why is the public perception of musicians either geeks or acidheads? Why is there a dichotomy between what we feel and we think in this society?

Humanistic education, I believe, must return to our schools and our society. We must learn to value the Arts and well as the Sciences, Beauty, as well as Financial Success. We must restore a sense of Aesthetic Prospective to our classrooms. There is a fundamental right to equal education under the law and Music Education is fundamental to our educational system. So much so, that with the founding of Harvard University, Music was one of the seven subject areas designated to be taught. It is also fundamental to the family unit. Children and parents who sing and play together, who attend live concerts together usually stay together. Music is a tool to teach responsibility, perseverance, and pride. It teaches skills and conceptual learning, and finally it teaches us to appreciate that which we do not know or understand, but can feel! We are more Human, if we understand and play music. Finally, I believe that music has a Spiritual Dimension, that is evidenced in the most tragic of circumstances and helps us imagine a better life. Music Education is the right

of every citizen and every student in our public schools. It should be taught as all other subjects, every day, and with care, emphasizing skill development and literacy. I believe our school climate and our society would be better served if this were so. We would begin building a more humane, compassionate, and caring society for the betterment of all. For This I Believe!