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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000683.txt from 2001/05

From: "Dee D. Hays" <deehays@-----.net>
Subj: Re: [kl] School Board
Date: Sat, 26 May 2001 22:03:35 -0400

Roger,

I have moved around this country a great deal and have children that have
been in a number of public schools. None of these shools had general music
classes beyond the little bit taught in elementary school. This little bit
was minimal indeed. The only students who got any music after elementary
school were those who signed up for the elective band or chorus. Or do you
propose that band or chorus be made manadatory for all? My proposals would
increase the amount of music that students have available and make sure that
none of them miss basic music education. I did not say nor intend to say
that band and chorus had to be eliminated or changed to extracurricular.
These would remain electives as they are now.

And despite the fact that you are a professional music educator, your
opinions are shaped by your personal experiences in the school districts
that you have taught in just as mine are shaped by the experiences of my own
schooling and that of my children. Thus they are equally limited in
universal applicability.

As I stated above, I do not propose a system that would diminish what is
currently available. In the majority of schools, band and chorus are
electives not required courses. I'm talking about adding required courses
in music to those schools that don't have them. I am talking about all
students getting some basics. Band and chorus students would actually get
more music education than they are now.

You say that 3 years out of 12 is not enough. Perhaps true but it is better
than the 0 out of 12 years that non-band and non-chorus students get. A lot
of ground can be covered in three years, enough for a student to judge
whether they may want to know more anyway.

Yes, I used my own experiences to relate a system that could be considered.
I never said it would be a universal solution. It's something that could be
built on. A person starts with their own experiences and builds on it.

And I am all in favor of increasing the number of periods in a school day.
Our school systems are shortchanging our children not only in the dumbing
down of material but in the limited time they spend teaching it.

No, I don't expect all teachers to be creative. But basic courses are still
worthwhile. The few creative teachers just manage to make learning more
fun.

Now if someone is serious about preventing music from being dropped, the
place to start is with the state boards of education and the legislatures.
They are the ones who define what must be included in the mandatory core
curricula. They are also the ones who set guidelines as to what should be
made available as standard electives. Local school boards have to follow
the requirements or risk losing accreditation for their schools. Right now
local school boards will look at program popularity versus budget. If
Advanced Basket Weaving is the rage among the local parents, it will get
support in lieu of band. Note I'm using a totally ridiculous example as I
don't want to trigger the sports versus music discussions/gripes.

If we want to have musical literacy, it's got to be included in the state
standards. Fighting the local school boards isn't going to work.

Dee Hays
Michigan

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