This will be a little bit of a rant, so I apologize in advance for any harsh opinions you are about to read. I just need to get a little something off my chest.
I've been hearing a lot lately about how school music programs are "nice", are "good", but aren't "core", aren't "required", and aren't "necessary" for a proper upbringing of a child. This makes me feel angry and sad.
I feel angry because it shows the absolute ignorance of these bloviating ignoramuses. The fact that they put so little value on an entire field of study, simply because they don't understand it or aren't musicians themselves, angers me to the core! These people have no knowledge and no expertise and it's obvious they haven't endeavored to investigate their statements or opinions at all! If you talk to ANY expert on the matter you will soon find that a balanced educational program is key to any curriculum, this includes both the ARTS and the SCIENCES. They are absolutely NECESSARY!
I also feel sad. I pity these poor folks that they haven't experienced the joy and power that having artistic endeavor, initiative and knowledge can bring to a person. There is a pure rush of excitement that I experience, and I know many other musicians experience, from both performing their art and teaching their art. For someone to be so vacant of these experiences that they can blabber ignorant attacks upon an art form is absolutely pitiful. And I do pity them, tremendously.
So it's not all anger, it's also a say sympathy for these poor folk. Imagine if someone attacked history or sociology, or philosophy or physics, as being "unnecessary", it would spark much more outrage. This is another level of atrocious that I think is completely under-represented in our media coverage today.
Ok, I'm calm now. I was all worked up in a tiff about this, but writing this little rant has definitely helped, so let me take another look in a more calm and structured manner:
Arts and Sciences Are Two Sides of the Same Coin
There is a reason the entire academic structure is based on "Arts" and "Sciences", you can either pursue degree in one or the other. Millenia of academic pursuit has given us these classifications. It is because these two segments contain essentially the entirety of human knowledge. They are equivalent pursuits, both sides of the same coin.
Is learning to play guitar any different from learning to do calculus? Some would say it is harder to play a musical instrument! So why do we degrade one while propping up another? When you attack one, or part of one, as being irrelevant, you are essentially attacking the entirety of human knowledge. Why is it acceptable to do this? It should not be. It should be deplorable. IT IS DEPLORABLE. Ok, sorry for yelling. I'm calm. I swear.
The arts have given us so much. I think because people don't see the arts as contributing to technology (in recent years, anyway) that they think they are a trivial pursuit. Not at all. Look at the most popular media of our age, movies, TV, music, all the product of artistic and creative people. Sure, scientists gave us the television and the film projector, but artists gave us the films that made them so popular! Scientists gave us the compact disk and the iPod, but musicians gave use what them them so popular! Without arts, science fails. Without science, art fails. We are all in the same boat!
So there goes my little rant. I hope I didn't scare anyone off 🙂 Just know that we need both academic pursuits in our lives and the lives of our children.