Arts and Music in Public Schools

It was the spring of 2007 school concert and my fellow band members and I were all excited as we waited patiently for the curtains to open. The chatter of family members and friends on the other side of the curtains was being heard throughout the hall. As I looked around I could see my friends in the same state of mind as I for in just a few minutes our hard work was about to pay off. Songs music from “Pirates of the Caribbean,” “The Nutcracker Suite,” “The Polar Express,” and “Phantom of the Opera,” were going to be heard. We were all in some kind of a trance when slowly the curtains started moving.

The scratching of the rods broke the sound of the people talking and for a split second you could hear a pin drop. Tap, tap, tap, and the Maestros stick beat his stand. We were ready to begin. What in actuality lasted three hours seemed like seconds when all of a sudden we saw the crowd on their feet clapping and shouting. It was the very first standing ovation our school band had ever had and we were beside ourselves. The world seemed to be in our hands and we all just knew we where headed towards music success! Unfortunately and much to our surprise that wasn’t just our first standing ovation; it was also our last.

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Two months after that our band director had relocated to a bigger more promising city offering him a better equipped group and more money and once again our band class was left with substitutes after substitutes. What started as a promising band program ended in tragedy: our band director left, our hard earned band money was stolen by a crooked treasurer and our class had gone from a record breaking 80 members band to a sad and depressing 4 members band. Our school was on the verge of ending the music program all together and the voice of 4 band students wasn’t even making a dent in the school board’s heart. Fortunately, the band program was “saved.” Now, the middle school and high school share one worn out band teacher and it has whole whopping 20 members! Aren’t we the lucky ones? In a world were there is music even in our grocery stores we can not even have a decent music program in our schools! Our hopes and dreams of getting music scholarships and playing with the Disney Harmonica went out the window and many of us put down our instruments for good after being the butt of everyone’s jokes as we walked with them through the hallway. Today, the sound of people clapping after a once well-played concert is just a memory and thoughts of a future in music continues to be just a dream. As if that weren’t bad enough the Art program in our school is being ran by P.E. coaches who juggles art, pottery and photography. So, those of us who were actually enjoying 2D Art last year can now take 2D Art 2 with a coach who is more interested in football than in photography and who can care less if you burn the pot you were making your mom! What in the world is happening to our schools? It is a sad day when students of all learning styles and abilities can’t dream beyond the books and into a world that evolves other things like music and art and crafts and many other aspects of life! I mean not every student can learn traditionally and even if we could not every student wants to.

There are so many students out there, gifted students that would just love the opportunity to express him/herself through other forms, students with the minds of Picasso, Leonardo DeVincci, Mozart, Bach, and Beethoven. Art and Music programs should be just as important as Reading and Math programs especially when we have come so far as to learn that in this world there are several different learning styles. Some students like the traditional classroom setting, while others enjoy moving around and touching, feeling everything they learn, other students are quiet, but enjoy the sounds of music, the colors of art, and find their talent their passion in those areas. We should all be allowed to learn and express ourselves in different ways and Arts and Music should be one of them!