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Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943950 04/09/08 12:05 AM
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P.S.

The whole area of education is a quagmire anyhow. Some of the most useful skills in life are never taught in school: balancing your budget, cooking a meal in a half hour or less, and taking risks.

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Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943951 04/09/08 12:06 AM
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The Texas Music Educators Association employs a lobbyist to hang out in Austin and make the politicians keep music in the schools. I believe we're the only state with a significant Public School Arts Advocacy presence in its capitol.

All it really takes is for the parents to get involved. Having taught in the public schools, I can definitely say that administrations listen very closely to what parents want. If the parents demand a strong music program, it will happen. But they have to do more than just sit at home and complain about how the politicians don't care about music - they have to show up at PTA meetings and School Board meetings and speak out!


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943952 04/09/08 03:34 AM
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Thanks for the supportive responses ... just to throw in a chuckle about how easy it is to play the piano ...

Here’s an advertisement from the 1920s ... selling NY piano lessons by correspondence ... Could it be that NY-based Ira Gershwin spoofed
the same ad in his lyric "They All Laughed"
("at Christopher Columbus, when he thought the World was round".)

"there’s a sucker born every minute" ...

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Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943953 04/09/08 03:46 AM
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Candyman, I see your point but if young children are not given the benefit of a good music education then they will never know if it holds interest for them. In primary education all subjects other than core ones should be given equal priority because there is no way of knowing the path any child might follow. Later on it makes sense to focus more on what interests you. I think that most children lose interest in the majority of their school subjects by the time they reach secondary school. They are already starting to decide what is important to them. The trouble is that most of them have had no real music education through primary school and so it's little wonder that they are not interested.

Parent power is all well and good but it is very easy to pull the wool over their eyes. In my local area we have a 'specialist music college' into which most of the resources and music budget go. It all looks good on the surface but a quick look behind the scenes will show that the standard of music education is extremely poor. I know because quite a few of my piano students go to school there. They were attracted by its reputation for music only to be dissapointed by what is actually on offer.


Pianist and piano teacher.
Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943954 04/09/08 04:30 AM
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I am an Australian high school student; Music (and 'Visual Arts') are compulsory for all students (NSW HSC anyway) in year 7 and 8 (ages 13/14) , is an option for year 9, year 10 and is an official board developed course for year 11/12 (ages 17/18). Most schools offer Music as the HSC course.

(Sorry if I'm repeating what others have said :p ).

My music assessment for my final year of school will consist of 4 performances and an aural exam.

Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943955 04/09/08 04:45 AM
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In California--budget cuts!

Of course fine arts and performing arts classes are the first ones to get the axe.

Don't even get me started on how inefficiently our public-school funds are being spent. I put in an order for a set of music books from a website at 25% off plus free shipping. I couldn't get the order past the secretary. She ordered from the official "supplier" at full price plus tax plus shipping and handling. The books came quickly, but some are already damaged, and it'll cost us more money to ship it back!? The secretary's rationale: the purchase order forms are already filled out for the "supplier" and it's less work for her. I almost fainted.

Oh, yeah, one of my colleagues accidentally ordered 50 Teacher's Edition of the music workbook instead of the actual workbook. The workbook (Student's Edition) costs $7.95 each. The Teacher's Edition costs $24.95 each. You can do the math. I can't believe the order actually got approved--we don't even have 50 music teachers in the district!!! On top of that, it's not even a good book. They are just sitting on my shelf right now gathering dust.

I'm just going to deplete our funds right now while we still have money. It might be 5 years before we can order another book at the rate we're going.

Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943956 04/09/08 05:51 AM
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Originally posted by dolbinau:
I am an Australian high school student; Music (and 'Visual Arts') are compulsory for all students (NSW HSC anyway) in year 7 and 8 (ages 13/14) , is an option for year 9, year 10 and is an official board developed course for year 11/12 (ages 17/18). Most schools offer Music as the HSC course.

(Sorry if I'm repeating what others have said :p ).

My music assessment for my final year of school will consist of 4 performances and an aural exam.
Hi dolbinau
Thanks for adding the high school perspective. My little rant earlier was about primary schools smile which is where I taught for some years. I agree there are some good things going on in high schools, though public schools are still pushed for funds, unfortunately. I accompany quite a few HSC candidates each year, and I've heard some very good performances!


Du holde Kunst...
Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943957 04/09/08 09:36 AM
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I breaks my heart that music and art seem to take the fall the most often with budget cuts.
Those issues are just the tip of the iceberg where I live.

We've chosen to homeschool our child. Piano practice and piano theory are part of our responsibilities for the day....so is chess.
He's really very good at math and I know that the music and chess play a major part in that.

Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943958 04/09/08 10:05 PM
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Music is strictly singing in grade k-8 with some minor notation (timing) with aws and tees. Really dumb. They're also taught the difference between rhythm and beat.
SOME gr 4 classes get recorder. But ven in the same school. maybe like 2/5 of the classes will learn recorders for unknown reasons. It's not the ability of the teacher, soemtimes it's just .. things.

gr 7/8 is when they learn their first instrument. Anything from flute to clarinet, trumpet, tenor/alto sax, t-bone, drums, etc. They also get Preliminary theory, and music history/listening. Usually there is a band if they chose to join.

In highschool it depends teh school, but there is usually a vocal and or instrumental class where they continue skills learned in gr 7/8. Usually in highschool its the serious music kids in the music programs, except for perhaps first year when kids are just looking for an arts credit.


"Derrrr dat wuz gud"
Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943959 04/09/08 10:23 PM
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In my daughter's school (elementary) music is mandatory. They are introduced to singing and the recorder. There is also a performing arts council that tries to get more music education and fine arts experience in the district. For example on a recent field trip there was an event like a orchestra petting zoo before the actual performance. In middle school band is one of the three electives that students may choose from. Instruments are generally provided by the school at a lower rent then one can get at a music store. Yes budget cuts affect everyone but it is nice to know that some schools still try to fit in fine arts and music. laugh I do have to say that I resent the fact that sports always comes in first where the budget is allocated. I just don't get it.


My blog such as it is http://melissasjourneys.blogspot.com
Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943960 04/09/08 10:33 PM
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In my daughters' elementary school, all grades have music once a week. Third graders and older can join a chorus, and fourth and fifth graders can join the band.

Once a year all students 1st thru 5th grade take a standardized test, and the school is rated depending on the results. For the younger students, there are three sections: English, math and language arts. The focus is very much on the basic academic core curriculum; everything else is secondary.


Piano self teaching on and off from 2002-2008. Took piano instruction from Nov 2008- Feb 2011. Took guitar instruction Feb 2011-Jul 2013. Can't play either. Living, breathing proof some people aren't cut out to make music.
Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943961 04/09/08 10:39 PM
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Originally posted by AdlerAugen:
Now that all this has come up, I'm curious as to whether public schools have individual practice rooms or not. The private highschool I went to did not (however it was rather small to begin with), and when I was doing an audition recently at a larger private highschool, I saw they did.

That question posed, do the absence or presence of practice rooms (which get used properly) make a difference in music education at elementary and highschool levels? For some students, they may not have access to a quiet place to practice or maybe a piano to help work on more basic musicianship things, or to practice an instrument during study hall which they may take private lessons outside of school for.

And since I've just raised that issue, how many more kids would take private lessons if they had time to practice during the school day/ at school, as opposed to having no time at all after school or not having a ride home to practice for an hour or two? Could even the existence of these quiet sanctuaries help raise the level of music education?

Just my thoughts on a way to help combat this issue of poor music education.
The junior high school I went to back in 1972 (it is still around but it is now a middle school) had two small practice rooms with no instruments near the band room. There were two other rooms with grand pianos where they taught music and chorus. The high school I went to had four practice rooms (though one was used as an office for the teachers and another for storing the percussion instruments). There were no grand pianos in my high school back then. There was another high school across town with five practice rooms. That school is now a middle school. A lot has changed since the 1970's.

- Mark


...The ultimate joy in music is the joy of playing the piano...
Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943962 04/10/08 01:54 AM
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I live in Fairfax Country, Virginia. Music in the schools is alive and well, here. My nephew is traveling to NYC with the High School's concert band to perform (yes, perform!) at Carnegie Hall next week.

I would have been ecstatic to have an opportunity like that when I was in school.

My nephew and niece went to an elementary school where EVERY student is taught to play violin -- whether they want to or not! The school supplies the violins.


The rest is silence. -- "Hamlet", Act 5 scene 2
Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943963 04/10/08 01:57 AM
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Originally posted by KeysOnTheCeiling:
Music is strictly singing in grade k-8 with some minor notation (timing) with aws and tees. Really dumb.
Well it's a start, I suppose. If the singing were to be done well (not just plonk a CD on and sing along) I'd be much more cheerful about it.


Du holde Kunst...
Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943964 04/10/08 08:42 AM
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Yeah, I wish more principals and parents would realize that CD Sing-Along is a pitiful excuse for a music class. And the people that lead the singing should be ashamed for calling themselves "music teachers." frown


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943965 04/10/08 08:57 AM
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Actually, there's a positive side to living in a district with less-than-great music programs. I've had students sign up for private piano or voice lessons with me specifically because their parents realize that they won't get a good music education at school, or their child is in high school, considering majoring on their string or woodwind instrument, and the school doesn't offer music theory classes. It is too bad that every school doesn't offer its students a quality music education, but we private teachers have an opportunity to "pick up the slack"!


Private piano & voice teacher for over 20 years; currently also working as a pipe organist for 3 area churches; sing in a Chicago-area acappella chamber choir
Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943966 04/10/08 08:59 AM
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Kreisler, I'm amused by your statement, because circa 1969, a music teacher would come in to our classroom with an industrial-strength turntable on a cart and a pile of records. Some were for listening, some were for singing along.

On the other hand, after a few years of budget cuts, and staff shuffling and such, my kids' elementary school still has a music program. My kids dislike it, mostly because they've studied piano for several years, and are bored with singing. But -- in 4th grade, they are introduced to recorders, reading from notated parts. That's a whole lot more than I had 39 years ago!

Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943967 04/10/08 09:44 AM
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The music department that I run has a manditory band program from grades four to eight, along with high school music courses right u to grade twelve. In addition, the piano department offers lessons before and after-school private and group classes. There are also after-school bands and choirs.


Daniel E. Friedman, co-owner of www.pianolessons101.com
You CAN learn to play the piano in a fun and positive way.
Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943968 04/10/08 03:31 PM
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Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
Stand back - here comes a blast of cynicism:

Ten years ago, when I first moved to Olympia, the capital city of Washington, I worked for a NFP organization which rented office space on the top floor of the school administration building. Each day, I had reason to leave the building several times, and in order to get some exercise, I used the stairs, walked around the building, etc.

What I observed was stunning and made me livid. The 3 floors of this building housed the major staff of the school district, one of the best (according to test scores at least) in the state. Yet, office after office was manned by people doing NOTHING! It was all I could do to keep from screaming in a mindless rage.

These non-producing people were sucking up $120,000 or more of tax payer dollars each, yet the schools were wanting for $30,000 music teachers, art teachers, librarians, etc.

Within four months, I had built my studio sufficiently to leave this position, but I have never forgotten the bureaucratic bloat and waste I saw.

So, if you want to know why your school district doesn't have music programs, I suggest you start with an unannounced walk through of your district's main offices, and observe for yourself.

:t: :t: bah smokin
That's right. The sheer number of overpaid administrators in schools now is sickening - we didn't have ANY of that when I was in school. That and the emphasis on sports makes me turn a deaf ear to the ever present "we have no money" from our money grubbing school system...


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Re: Why is music not taught in the schools?
#943969 04/10/08 04:52 PM
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I've been reading the varying reports with interest. I don't know anything about the school system in the US or Canada (slightly more about UK, which I think resembles ours), but I'm wondering how the public/private thing ties in with the differing levels of music education going on. Here in Australia we have the public, government funded schools (and just about everyone agrees they don't get enough money, except perhaps the government of the day!), and private fee-charging schools, which also get some government funding (public school advocates say they get too much, and they themselves claim they get too little).

I don't want to get into the issue of whether private schools should get any funding or not, but I'm wondering if the examples of music teaching in US and Canada for example reflect whether they're a private or government-funded school? I know that if, for example, you mentioned "practice rooms" here, or "piano lessons", or even some sort of decent performance space, the immediate and overwhelmingly accurate response would be "ah, private school!".


Du holde Kunst...
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