Thursday, February 04, 2010

Music Programs Becoming a Thing of the Past

I did the juggling act growing up. The math, English, foreign language, honor roll, the whole bit. Then I came home, did homework, and went to the theatre, piano or voice lessons, or dance class. Then it was home for more homework, sometimes until very late. I did the zero, early and extra period so I could fit in all my college prep. classes and do choir.

I was lucky enough to have supportive parents who told me that they understood that my involvement in the arts meant that my academic grades would not be as high as if I solely focused on school. They supported my involvement in the arts and my passion for music. Yet, they told me that if my grades dropped below a certain point I would have to put the arts on hold to get my grades back up. I never had to quit.

Here I am at the age of 35, with a BA. in music, and after a 9 year Montessori teaching career. Music was put on the back burner so I could teach and make money for the mortgage. I am a firm believer in Montessori and I had a good career working with some wonderful children. Four months ago I quit my job to move out of state for my husband's new job. I'm not bringing in the money right now, but I'm happier doing what I'm doing than I have been in years! I'm in two choirs, giving private voice lessons, composing, and taking violin lessons. I'm spending the hours practicing that I never had the time or energy to do while teaching.

Why is it that music and the arts are thought of as extra and superfluous? You don't see a math major having to spend the same hours on music as I did on math, do you? This is a firm testament to Montessori elementary's Cosmic Education! The Montessori elementary program is focused on giving the child the universe, a little bit of everything. Everything is connected. There's history, language, and math involved in music. In their investigation, they are going to make discoveries that cross the boundaries of every "subject."

Now more and more school districts are eliminating their music and other arts programs. This is so extremely upsetting! It's thought of as unnecessary and belittling to those of us who spend our time and work hard doing music.