The Arts: Where Are They Going?
When going to a movie, there are certain aspects of the art of filmography that are usually forgotten or not noticed by the general public. There are aspects that can make a movie the best, award winning movie, or can cause it to flop. Some of these aspects are sound, lighting, sets, props, costumes, and music. People who go to the movies occasionally forget to look at all the details and all the hard work that go into the design of a movie, but it is with such aspects that make the movie business flourish. Imagine a movie with no music, the same lighting, no makeup, no cool or intense shots with the camera, no music and no special effects: it would create a boring movie world that would not bring in the populace.These fine arts are affecting everyone, every single day: music on the radio, the newspaper, a magazine, a book, a movie, a TV show, photographs, and more.
These things make life interesting and colorful and entertaining. There is a high interest in the arts by the general public in its everyday use, but a lack of support and funding for the arts at the primary and secondary education level which will be detrimental in the overall arts for the future. School districts unable to fund their fine arts programs due to the lack of support from the public for funding and a larger interest in extracurricular activities to have such funding, are unable to support all student types in the school and are unable to help each and every student find a place to belong within their school. With times being tough and people holding onto their money with much more vigor than in the past, school districts are having to make hard decisions for their students. School districts throughout the nation are having to deal with low budgets, which, if all programs were to be kept, would create a financial crisis of a school and could ultimately create the closing of a school or district in the area. With people so adamant on not giving more of their money to the schools, districts are having to make detrimental cuts or complete elimination of their programs.
More and more school districts are putting a levy or bond up to vote and just as many times are refused by the public. Among the top programs that are the first to be cut are the arts.Many districts are also changing their requirements for a fine arts credit to be needed for graduation. This requirement is hurting the support of the arts and increasing the belief in the general public that the arts are a program not needed in the schools. The arts are in an expansive range of activities, from the liberal arts of journalism and novelists to the arts of theater and movies. Behind every popular person in the media for the arts is a team of artists that truly make all the magic come to life.
Behind every singer is a manager, a band, a costumer, a makeup artist, a lighting specialist, a sound specialist, and so many more. For these people to be able to work and to make these living legends live on in the eyes of the public, they need extensive training in their field and they need to have access to such at a young age to have the best possible experiences and to keep the fine arts world alive and kicking. Without the availability of a fine arts program that can support these activities at a young age, there will be a decrease in the number of people who are specially trained in these arts, which will lead to less quality work done in the future, which will in turn lose public support. The arts are needed in times such as these when everything in the business of entertainment is ever increasing and improving and people need instruction to be able to keep up with these fast changing advancements. While there are the changes to the programs, not all fine arts programs are being affected by this change. The music and visual arts programs in elementary and secondary school have taken a small hit, the average only dropping a couple percentage points based on a study in 2012 of over 1,000 schools (Parsad).
The programs that have taken the largest hit to cuts are the dance and theatre programs. There was also an increase in how many of these fine arts were held as an out-of-curriculum activity, now held after school, meaning that to be a member of the program, a student would have to pay to get the instruction rather than having the program through the school (Parsad). This can cause many people to not be able to partake in the arts due to complications with funds. There has also been a drop in instructors who teach music history, theory and more within the class time alongside preparing pieces for concerts, which can create a more educational instruction of an art (Parsad). A majority of the teachers in these programs who do teach during the school day work full time, but have to spend time in separate buildings throughout the school day (Parsad).
This means that this teacher cannot focus on one program to make it the best it can be, but rather have to juggle two or three different programs, usually from different levels of schooling, meaning different levels of skill; not all programs are going to be given the same amount of focus, which can cause younger people to quit an art earlier in life due to lack of interest before getting to the elite group when they grow in skill and age. This lowers the possible musicians that would be available to the world if they had continued with their art, which would create more of either instructors to grow programs in the future or to be able to have more variety of professional orchestras that the public would have access to see in performance. Many larger cities have professional orchestras that practice and perform as people’s careers, hoping to move to a higher level orchestra, such as the Pops Orchestra. Without proper instruction from a young age, these musicians would not be as elite as they are and there would be less likelihood of people attending concerts for these large groups, which in turn also leads to lack of funding for the fine arts. These program cuts and problems caused a drop in the people going into the arts for a living, which in turn can reduce the culture of a society into only working in the sciences or humanities with few ways to have leisure with the fine arts. This pandemic is not only affecting the world of elementary and secondary schooling; it is affecting the college level as well.
The College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas must put their Musical Theatre program on hiatus, meaning that they will no longer accept incoming students into the program, but will let the remaining students finish and graduate. The program plans to open back up when there is enough funding to support the program as well as the new required salary increases of the professors. This is not the first program to be put on hiatus in this college; the Master’s programs for Dance and Acting have both been put on hiatus in the past that is still in place (Dearman). “Cutting the musical theatre program is negative for the department because it is an increasingly popular form of theater with a variety of career outlets,” says the Department of Theatre and Dance department chair, Brant Pope (Dearman). It is because of cuts or hiatuses such as this that there will be less people in the world who have such talents that can be portrayed to the public, which will decrease the span of live theatre: the fewer the actors, there are fewer people to fill in roles.
Many big-time, superstar actors began their journey through the performing arts while on stage; some even returning to the stage such as Daniel Radcliffe and Matthew Broderick. Without this art of live theatre, many big time actors would not have found their careers through, most likely, a secondary school program, and would not have been able to perfect their art at the college level. These programs need to find a way to come back from their hiatuses or cuts to be able to give proper instruction to the people who are set on going into the arts for a living. With these fine arts programs usually going to the cutting board first, school districts are choosing to take away opportunities for students to improve higher brain function and thinking. Usually whenever a cut to the music programs is made, it’s based on the intuition that this is sort of a frill” (Hicks). There have been studies done in the last few years that have tested how playing a musical instrument can affect higher brain function and have found that people who have experience playing an instrument have higher brain functions than those who have not (Hicks).
This training in music can lead to higher understanding and comprehension of language, reading, and math as well as more advanced problem-solving and executive thinking skills (Hicks). Playing an instrument also uses many parts of the brain and many different systems: the auditory, emotional, motor, and executive functions systems. The brain works in overdrive when playing in a group ensemble because of the specific details that have to be paid attention to at all times in a group: tuning, articulation, rhythms, precision, and repetition. It is because of this that a lottery school in Boston has required that all students play an instrument in the school day as part of daily instruction, called El Sistema. The results were marvelous: the overall test scores in the school increased (Hicks).
Music is even being used to predict the literacy ability of students in the second grade for the fifth grade by evaluating of a student is struggling with a writing a simple rhythm, which also coincides with people who are struggling in reading and writing (Hicks). Music, which has a surplus of beneficial consequences, is able to help people with their school work and understanding of information. Music being as helpful to society as it is, should not be the program to be thrown to the junkyard as a “frivolous” activity, but rather cherished for its benefits and beauty. The fine arts programs in all levels of education have been being cut down and eliminated in innumerable amounts of schools not just in this nation, but throughout the world. This killing of the arts is not a new problem in the world, even starting during WWII with the Monuments Men, a few men who decided to protect the arts and buildings being stolen and destroyed during the war, getting little funding and little support for their job and much retaliation from generals who didn’t care about the arts. This ever occurring problem needs to be solved.
The arts need to be included in every school institution as to promote higher brain function and a larger, more diverse culture due to music and visual arts. More schools need to have a requirement for a fine arts credit to graduate from high school due to its major benefits to the brain and the skills gained, such as being able to work with a team of people. School districts, rather than cutting programs that are integrated into the school day as a class, should cut activities that they are funding that are extracurricular activities, such as sports teams. Many communities have public sports teams or institutions that are built specifically to allow people to have access to a certain sport when not available to that person in other means. School districts are not required to have a sports team to run, and while sports are beneficial to the health of students and allows for many people to be active, they do not receive a grade for their involvement and there are other means for them to be involved in a sport.
Sports teams also only last for a small season in the school year, while music classes are a full year commitment, and when high school is reached, a member of a band class most likely is required to be a part of the marching band where they receive a grade for their participation and they get exercise. The fine arts are usually the largest groups of people that the school funds and is usually the most successful when going to competitions and gaining the school a reputation for their arts programs. The fine arts are also able to be continued throughout the entirety of a person’s life as many of the arts only require a person to be able to read music, remember lines, hold a brush or pencil, move around, or even just breathe. Certain fine arts also are a universal art, being able to be understood by any person in any place on the planet, bringing people together to celebrate the beauty of all things in life and of the human existence. The arts are a thing to be treasured, rather than thrown away, for their ability to teach, bring people together and to participate in an activity that has been a part of the human existence almost as long as man has been on earth and feel the connection with all people all over the world and all through history who share the same love. ? Works Cited Dearman, Eleanore.
“Musical Theatre Program Put on Hiatus.” 11 December 2014. thedailytexan.com. 5 January 2015. Edsel, Robert M.
, and Bret Witter. The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. New York: Center Street, 2009. Print. Hicks, George. “How Playing Music Affects the Developing Brain.
” 17 July 2014. commonhealth.wburs.org. 5 January 2015. Parsad, B.
, and Spiegelman, M. Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: 1999–2000 and 2009–10. Washington D.C.: National Center of Educational Statistics, 2012.