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Keep Music Education in Our Schools
Music Education is an Important Part of School Curriculum
Over the past 10 years or so, many school programs have been cut to reduce budgets and save money. Those hardest hit are physical education, art and music classes. The tragedy of these curriculum adjustments is that they rob children of the opportunity to learn through different mediums.
Elementary school music classes compliment and build on other skills children are learning in their regular classrooms. These include:
- Social interaction
- Small motor skills
- Large motor skills
Music is written in "measures," or small blocks of which there are a certain number of beats. If a song is in 3/4 time, that means there will be 3 beats per measure, with a quarter note counting as a single beat. Children can learn counting and fractions through musical instruction. These skills may make more sense, and will be more enjoyable for children when learned in this medium.
Improvement in reading can also result from regular classes. Children learn not only how to read the words of a song that they will sing, but also to read notes and understand the connection between their placement of on the staff (treble or bass clef) and tonal variations. The ability to read music will be an advantage if your child is interested in choir, theatre and/or acting.
When creating tunes in a large group, children learn to take turns, listen for their cue, and respect personal property (the instruments). All of these social skills are important to overall development. As with any artistic expression, making music can help improve a child's self-esteem and build confidence. Developmentally or physically disabled kids generally respond very positively to such classes. Some studies show that it helps breathing and speech disabilities improve.
Both small and large motor skills are advanced through elementary school music instruction. Use of hands and fingers is necessary for playing a recorder, xylophone, drums, cymbals and other small percussive instruments. Often, the classes involve basic dancing instruction, foot stomping, and hand clapping. Who wouldn't have fun in an environment like that?
Music Education is Important
School music performances are positive experiences in a number of ways.
First, it gives the child an opportunity to display the work he or she is doing in class. Second, it can be a positive bonding experience between a child and his or her caregivers. Third, performances are usually festive and fun. Decorative art work, plus cookies and punch at the end, results in an afternoon or evening that will not soon be forgotten.
Self-expression through music allows creative outlets that some kids may not otherwise receive.
For families that cannot afford private lessons or other extracurricular activities, programs in public schools can help expand the horizons for these less fortunate children.
If your child's school district is considering budget cuts that will affect music instruction, get involved!
Write to the superintendent about the myriad of benefits these classes have for young children. Offer to volunteer to help out, if you can. Spear-head some fundraising activities to help with shortfalls. Get in contact with your state legislators and fight hard to keep music in the schools. Don't give up or resign yourself to the loss of programming.