During the pre show huddle with the awesome guys from Bloody Five, the topic of music in the schools came up. The response was instantaneous and passionate that music is a very important part of students' lives in so many ways. We didn't have a chance to really get to that discussion during the show, but here are my views.
Music makes you smarter. It exercises parts of the brain not only in the act of performance but also as one listens. Just look at the kids who study music at school, with teachers outside of school and later play with their peers. These are the kids who can relate to one another through that shared experience. These are the kids who can focus on learning and playing through practice after practice and then in the moment of an actual performance. They have, through music, become part of a community requiring cooperation, patience and finally pride as they play together for family and friends.
In a society where money, sports and academics define success in life, music provides another avenue to succeed and be part of the group. Who among us doesn't remember trying to find ourselves as teens? I can honestly say one of the most memorable moments of my life was going to the end of year concert for schools across the GTA at the legendary Massey Hall. I still get shivers down my spine remembering all those students singing the national anthem in four part harmony to a packed venue to start the show. And that was just the warm up. At the end of the show (which flew by way too quickly) there were throngs of kids from every background imaginable chatting and smiling with family and friends, proud of being part of the night, and joining together in music. There was no competition,
posturing or put downs. There were just the kids and their music.
I believe that it is our responsibility as the older generation to ensure the one coming up has the building blocks to make this world a better place. Every child (and young adult) deserves food, shelter, an education and a safe place to grow into the adults we know they can be. As much as a healthy body is a right, so is the opportunity to find ways to express themselves through language, art and music.
Don't let the school programs wither and die. Fight for the students' rights to have qualified teachers, instruments that are playable, and a chance to experience the rewards of hard work, persistance and cooperation.
Keep music in the schools.
Thanks for listening