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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000732.txt from 2001/05

From: "Dee D. Hays" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] School Board
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 11:25:15 -0400

----- Original Message -----
From: "Lacy, Edwin" <>
Subject: RE: [kl] School Board

> From: Dee D. Hays
> <<<Repeat: Extracurricular does not mean eliminate.>>>
> Music educators have been fighting a battle for most of the past century
> have music made an integral part of the curriculum. Now, as far as I can
> tell from this convoluted exchange, you want to make it extra-curricular
> again. As a music educator for the past 42 years, including 6 years of
> teaching in the public schools, this suggestion makes my blood run cold.


I appreciate how confusing this must seem. To follow my posts, its
necessary to keep firmly in mind that there is far more to music than band
and chorus. As a music educator, you know this even better than I do but if
this is not kept in mind, then it is hard to follow what I have actually
said and what such a lack of distinction could lead the reader to believe
was said.

No I don't want to go backwards. I want music as an integral part of the
curriculum. Unfortunately it isn't. Oh, students can select the elective
band or chorus but these two activities are only a very limited subset of
music and the rest of the students don't get anything.

In addition, which electives to make available are up to the whim of the
local selection and funding mechanism. Electives have no greater protection
from funding cuts than extra-curricular activities. That's why I want basic
music to be a mandatory core requirement not just an elective in the
curricula. Since electives can be dropped from the curricula at any time, I
don't consider them to be an integral part of the curricula. If electives
were an integral part of the curricula, there could be no debate at funding
meetings as to whether to keep the football squad or elective curricula
items such as the band.

I have tried very hard to make a clear distinction between MUSIC and
band/chorus. The latter is but a very small element of the former.

My points were that since band and chorus are not treated like proper
elective courses, then let's get a mandatory music requirement in even if
that meant making these two specific activities extracurricular although I
would prefer that they remain as electives. I don't want to go backwards
for heaven's sake. But let's treat them as proper electives. I don't
particularly want to go *backwards* to making these activities
extracurricular. I stated that as a possible option given the fact that
they are treated that way and the fact that I want to incorporate some
mandatory music education for all students.

> As to the contention that music should be made mandatory at all grades, I
> for one wouldn't want to teach a class of high school students who were
> taking a required class in music, in which most of the students would have
> no interest whatsoever in the subject. I have taught such a class at the
> junior high school level, and I can tell you from experience that the
> obstacles to teaching and learning in such a situation are almost
> insurmountable. I know many music educators, but none who would relish
> thought of teaching in such a circumstance.

Nope, didn't say all grades. There should however be some at each of the
various levels (elementary, middle, and high schools) but not every grade
within those levels.

That the students might not be interested is not an adequate argument
against having a mandatory class. That argument would justify eliminating
all required courses and making everything elective including English, etc.
English, math, and social studies teachers have to face uninterested
students all the time. Should music educators be exempt from that hardship?
If music education is important, then that hardship goes with the territory.

> As far as I can tell, the suggestion to change music to extra-curricular
> then make it mandatory are diametrically opposing viewpoints.

See above. I have repeatedly made a distinction between music, which I
believe should be mandatory, and specific musical activities, which could be
either elective or extra-curricular as decided by the local
selection/approval process.

You can't protect a curricula item unless it's incorporated in the required
classes. Elective and/or extracurricular activites can bet the ax at any
time no matter how desireable it is deemed to be.

Dee Hays

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