Music and arts education programs matter because they engage the bizarre and beautiful creativity of Generation Y.
So, I've been thinking about education recently. Entries on the joys and trials of being a Suzuki Mom have flooded my inbox (send more!), and my colleague Alberta, a fine violinist and writer here at SHAR, just posted an entry last week on the sacrifices and payoffs of studying and playing the violin.
The entries on this blog, however, aren't reflective of the dominant opinion on most school boards. No surprise there. Arts education can't really compete with the sciences, and I'm not sure if they've ever been able to compete. Certainly these days most of the rhetoric from President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan has centered on the sciences. When Obama and Duncan talk about our test scores dropping behind Scandanavian countries or China, it's usually in the sciences. Administrators value reading, but not reading as a way to make art: more so, they care about reading skills because the savvy use of language is necessary to get ahead.
This week I finally talk about the Super Bowl and Madonna's halftime show. I'm both fascinated by and suspicious of the spectacle we witnessed, and so I ask, What's the value of the solo performance? And what sort of armor do we put on when everything in our culture is grandiose and awe-inspiring? If you'd like to contribute to our blog -- as a parent, teacher, or player -- email me at email@example.com.
Kudos to Mark Wood and the Tecumseh, MI orchestras for an exciting, eclectic, energetic concert at the Tecumseh High School gym last night. Mark performed with 320 TSO students, featuring hits such as “Yellow Submarine,” “Live and Let Die,” and Ozzy Osborne’s “Crazy Train.” Middle school teacher Amy Marr performed a rousing rendition of “Toss the Feathers” in collaboration with Mark before a finale of Aaron Copeland’s Hoedown. Many of the students, sporting various hair color highlights and Electrify Your Strings t-shirts in celebration of the concert, were a respectful group who thoroughly enjoyed the experience and Mark’s fantastic performance. I appreciated Mark’s congeniality to the families, friends, and students of the TSO orchestras and the dedication of his first solo not only to the sponsors of the event and those in the audience, but to his parents, who were instrumental in support of both Mark and the arts. While my right eardrum may not recover for a few days, the line of students over 100 feet long waiting for autographs 20 minutes after the concert speaks to the impact Mark had on Tecumseh and the fabulous orchestra program there. What a memorable and well-planned concert. Congratulations to Mark, teachers Amy Marr and Michael Bough, and the talented students of TSO!