From Richard Marx: Homework. Soccer. Part-time jobs. The internet! Are you busy overlooking something important? Don’t forget music! Studying music is one of the most valuable ways a student can spend time. Practicing music reinforces team work, communication skills, self-discipline, and creativity — all qualities kids need to be successful in your other schoolwork. These skills will help you later, too, in your jobs and in society. Learn that there’s more to music than what you hear on the radio. The more you learn about it, the more you’ll enjoy listening to your favorite tunes. Then, maybe you can even explain to your parents why you think your own music is so cool! Hey, turn off the TV and play music!
FROM RONNIE DUNN OF BROOKS & DUNN: Why do kids love music? Maybe it’s because music is fun – plain and simple. It offers kids a way to move their bodies and use their voices. It opens up their minds to dream about where they can go and what they can do when they get older. Music is also such a valuable form of communication. Our kids – American kids – come from more cultures and backgrounds than in any nation in history. And sometimes the most fertile common ground they share is that ofmusic. Music classrooms are great places for kids to explore their creativity, develop skills, and interact with other young people. Get involved in music. Support your school’s music program!
FROM PATTI AUSTIN: Want to know one of the best ways to do better in school? I visit a lot of schools both at home and when I’m on the road, and I hear too many students say, “School’s boring.” And I say tothem, “What about music class?” You know, learning music opens up the mind like nothingelse. Performing in a school music ensemble is fun and challenging for kids. It encourages creativity while instilling self-discipline. And learning music even develops something called “spatial IQ,” which helps students tackle the challenges of other subjects like math and science. Some night this week, sit down as a family and play your kids some music you really love. Then listen to what your kids like and compare notes. Even better, sit down at the piano and sing some songs together! Help your kids learn to love music!
FROM SARA EVANS: One of the great things about music is how it brings people together. Kids like to hang out, listen to music, and talk about what’s hot – and what’s not – on the music scene. And playing instruments and singing provides a way for young people to get together and interact in a cooperative and respectful way. Kids who play in school ensembles understand that every part has to work together for the result to be the magical art called music. Your local school music program provides a golden opportunity for a child to experience the rewards of learning music. Why not pay a visit to the music teacher to find out what’s going on? Get your kids involved with school music!
FROM GLORIA ESTEFAN: The first few weeks of the new school year are such a great time in a kid’s life. They may not admit it to you, but they’re psyched about being back. As parents, we always wonder how we can help our kids keep up that sense of enthusiasm for the whole year. Here’s a suggestion: encourage them to get the most out of music class. “But music’s just a special,” they might say. “Once a week.” Unfortunately, that may be true. But remind them that it’s forty-five of the best minutes they’ll have all week. That their music teachers want to open their minds to the amazing power of rhythm and melody and harmony. And that learning to make music is cooler than just about anything else. Except maybe getting a locker next to their best friend!
FROM BONNIE RAITT: Remember how excited you were as a kid to go back to school at the end of the summer? Seeing old friends, making new ones. Getting new books and a new locker. A “clean” slate. And music class. That special room where you went to sing, and perform with your friends, and learn all sorts of interesting stuff about great composers and instruments and different kinds of music! We remember our music teachers because they were so passionate about helping us learn to love music. They helped spark a love for listening to notes and voices and rhythms that continues to enrich our lives even today. Know what? I bet your kids feel the same way about music class. Ask ‘em. And make sure they get involved with music in school this year!
FROM SUZY BOGGUSS: Want to know which teacher your kids are most likely to choose as a role model this year in school? It’s the person who teaches them about music. Not sports or English or history. Music. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Music teachers have always played an important role in the lives of their students. They help our kids tap into their natural creativity. They teach them about cooperation and self-discipline. It’s a bonus that when kids have learned about scales and clefs, they find math and English concepts easier to grasp. That’s because of how music education expands a young person’s “spatial I.Q.” Reading poetry or solving an equation is easier if kids know their sharps and flats. It’s a fact! Help your kids get to know the music teacher at their school. Get them involved in music this year!
Parents, listen up. Want to know an easy way to help your kids get the most out of the new school year? Music. I’m not talking about buying them a new CD at the record store. I’m talking about getting them psyched about learning music at school. Their school has a music teacher just waiting to open their young minds and spirits to all the benefits music education provides: The joy of playing music with other kids in class or school band. The sense of pride from mastering an instrument – whether the violin or their own voice. The way learning music has been proven to enhance the skills kids use when learning math and science. It’s a fact. But maybe it’s better to just tell your kids that music class may be the most fun they can have at school this year without getting in trouble. Now that’ll get their attention!
Music Advocacy’s Top Ten Quotes
1. “During the Gulf War, the few opportunities I had for relaxation I always listened to music, and it brought me great peace of mind. I have shared my love of music with people throughout this world, while listening to the drums and special instruments of the Far East, Middle East, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Far North, and all of this started with the music appreciation course that I was taught in a third-grade elementary class in Princeton, New Jersey. What a tragedy it would be if we lived in a world where music was not taught to children”
– General H. Norman Schwarzkopf — United States Army
2. “Music is exciting. It is thrilling to be sitting in a group of musicians playing (more or less) the same piece of music. You are part of a great, powerful, vibrant entity. And nothing beats the feeling you get when you’ve practiced a difficult section over and over and finally get it right. (yes, even on the wood block.) Music is important. It says things you heart can’t say any other way, and in a language everyone speaks. Music crosses borders, turns smiles into frowns, and vice versa. These observations are shared with a hope: that, when schools cut back on music classes, they really think about what they’re doing – and don’t take music for granted.”
– Dan Rather — CBS News
3. “In every successful business…there is one budget line that never gets cut. It’s called ‘Product Development’ – and it’s the key to any company’s future growth. Music education is critical to the product development of this nation’s most important resource – our children.”
– John Sykes — President, VH1
4. “The things I learned from my experience in music in school are discipline, perseverance, dependability, composure, courage and pride in results. . . Not a bad preparation for the workforce!”
– Gregory Anrig – President, Educational Testing Service
5. “Music is an essential part of everything we do. Like puppetry, music has an abstract quality which speaks to a worldwide audience in a wonderful way that nourishes the soul.”
– Jim Henson – television producer and puppeteer
6. “Should we not be putting all our emphasis on reading, writing and math? The ‘back-tobasics curricula,’ while it has merit, ignores the most urgent void in our present system – absence of self-discipline. The arts, inspiring – indeed requiring – self-discipline, may be more ‘basic’ to our nation survival than traditional credit courses. Presently, we are spending 29 times more on science than on the arts, and the result so far is worldwide intellectual embarrassment.”
– Paul Harvey – syndicated radio show host
7. “It’s [music education] terribly important, extremely important — because when you are a child, you are in a receptive age … In high schools, public schools — that’s where they must have the best influence, the first influence, which will go through their whole life.”
– Eugene Ormandy – conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra
8. “It is our job, as parents, educators, and friends, to see that our young people have the opportunity to attain the thorough education that will prepare them for the future. Much of that education takes place in the classroom. We must encourage our youngsters in such pursuits as music education. In addition to learning the valuable lesson that it takes hard work to achieve success, no matter what the arena, music education can provide students with a strong sense of determination, improved communication skills, and a host of other qualities essential for successful living.”
– Edward H. Rensi – President and Chief Operation Officer, U.S.A. McDonald’s Corporation
9. “A grounding in the arts will help our children to see; to bring a uniquely human perspective to science and technology. In short, it will help them as they grow smarter to also grow wiser.”
– Robert E. Allen – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, AT&T Corporation
10. “Some people think music education is a privilege, but I think it’s essential to being human.”
– Jewel – singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist
I have gathered over 35 videos from YouTube that have been tagged in some way as being about Music Education Advocacy. The videos are from Save the Music, The Children’s Music Workshop, and several school educators. Topics include “The Importance of Music Education,” “Music and the Mind,” and even Gabby Gifford’s amazing progress from her assination attempt through the power of music. Click the picture to the right to see the playlist.