Monday, June 01, 2009

Murder of music

I know my title is pretty extreme, but depriving kids of music is downright criminal.

Recently I lost my job as a color guard instructor. Not because I rotted at my job, but because school administrators didn't think music programs were important. I'd been at that school for eight years and feel like I'm grieving a death.

Below is a letter written to administration by a middle school parent. Permission to print and circulate this letter has been granted by the parent.

What A Loss 5/11/09

Today was the day I attended the last concert for my son’s middle school band at the Sheridan High School. The district decided to cut music from the school’s program from both the Middle School and the High School. All I could think of the whole time as we sat and listened, and then as we drove home afterward was, “What a Loss”. What a loss for those 20+ kids who practiced diligently and went faithfully to class each day to learn to read music and to play on an instrument. What a loss for the instructor who is so dedicated to instilling music into those kids, and what a loss for the parents, friends and family of all those kids sitting in the audience who will no longer have the enjoyment, pride and happiness that comes with seeing a child learn music.

Music is such a vital part of our everyday lives and has so many affects on a person’s all around being. A simple song can spark a memory and take you back to years and years in your past and bring forth a feeling inside a person of a time in their life that brought joy, sorrow, love or even laughter into their life. To take this gift away from not only the students of Sheridan, but the families of the students, the teachers, the staff and the community as a whole, to me, is such a great loss.

My oldest son graduated from Sheridan High School and was a dedicated musician to the Sheridan music programs and when I think back to all of the memories of those years, I cannot even tell you the disappointment that I feel. When I think of how many kids (my second son included.) will no longer have the opportunity to learn music or to have the memories of school with music all around them, all I can say is “What a loss.”

What will there be now to replace the music? HOW can you replace the music? Who will lead the Sheridan Day’s Parade? The Homecoming Parade? Who will play at the bon fires and basketball games? Who will play at the Pep Rallies and school assemblies? Who will play concerts for their parents and Christmas carols? Who will play for the school musicals? Who will play for the football, baseball, soccer, volleyball teams or wrestlers when they bring home the state championships? Who will play at the graduation ceremonies when our Sheridan students receive their diplomas?

Will you simply play a radio or a CD? Is that what this has come down to? Replacements? Can’t you see that you not you are not only replacing the music but you are replacing feelings, memories and most importantly, you are replacing PEOPLE.

When I think of the years and years of band competitions for marching band, jazz band and winter percussion that made so many students, parents, teachers and the whole Sheridan community so proud of what these kids from a small little community could accomplish, all I can think is – What a loss.

I pray there is some way to bring back the music programs of Sheridan. I want to hear the children’s music. If all we have, is to spend all of these events in years to come listening to a radio, CD’s or even worse, SILENCE, again I say, “What a Loss”.

Yvette Medina (Sheridan Middle School Parent)

Last week I was hired to teach color guard at Columbine High School. I'm excited about the opportunity, but my heart goes out to all the kids who'll never put their lips to a horn, sticks to a drum or hands on a flag.


Patti Lacy said...

As a music lover, my heart droops inside. I'm so sorry.

Anonymous said...

I've worked with the kids in the Sheridan area and they, much more so than the Columbine kids - have such a need for the availability of the fine arts at school. It truly is criminal to take this away from them!!! The only bright side to this is that your talent has been recognized and rewarded. Maybe someone will step up and volunteer to run an after school music enrichment program in the Sheridan schools......

smithsk said...

So sad to hear this. I hope, like Sheri said, volunteers step in to fill in the gap.
Music is so important. The largest book in the Bible - which has 150 chapters - is a music book - the Book of Psalms.
Keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

What would you cut instead of the music program? English? Math? Science? Social Studies?


D. Gudger said...

What to cut instead of music? Football.

Seriously, there are a LOT of non-academic areas that can be cut. Each district can find wasteful spending if they look at the budget. Way too much money is spent on ESL (English as a second language) for select groups - remediation, paying for lawsuits against schools by greedy people who think they are entitled.

Our school system is broken. It's become reactive rather than proactive. Illegal immigration has all but destroyed our systems robbing American children of advanced placement education, music and other fine arts.

Schools need to put pressure on parents be accountable for their kids' education. Public education needs to be a privelege that can be revoked if abused or taken for granted.

Before some of you think I'm racist, music programs most benefit students from low income areas. Students who are considered "minority" by our nanny-state government.

And... there are HUNDREDS of studies proving music raises IQ and significantly enhances academic performance.

I'm gonna have to write another post.

Papa Joe said...

I agree about cutting sports before music. Ask almost any adult which one they use more once they finish college: sports or music. Almost every time you'll hear them say music.

Let alone that the studies indicate that music does much for your academic and cognitive development than sports.

I'm not saying physical activity and fitness is not important, but when a music program is cut it can potentially mean academics will suffer as well.

smithsk said...

I can personally attest to Darcie's last comment. I was one of those low income students, who greatly benefited from music in public school. Taking private lessons was not an option. I picked up the flute & excelled at it and still play as an adult.
Also, what Papa Joe said, it helped me with science and math in college & many of my professors also were muscians.

DenaNetherton said...

I used to teach music at a charter school, and while everyone enjoyed their kids learning to play some instrument and learning to read music, it was abundantly clear that the other teachers and the principal considered music fluff. What a shame. How do they think all those great performers on radio, CDs, telivision, movies, etc. got their training?