MK 354 Spring 2010

March 24, 2010

Rallying for Music Education

Filed under: blog #7 — Tags: , , , , , — Zach Cole @ 11:48 pm

As funds for public schools diminish in many areas of the country, more and more school boards are faced with the difficult choice of deciding where to cut funding. Some school districts have chosen to cut funds for physical education programs, which is has obvious negative consequences. In Ithaca, NY, funding for music education programs may be cut back, much to the dismay of local musicians, students and parents.

According to WSYR Syracuse News, the plan calls for the removal of five music positions and the elementary instrumental music program. Because much of Ithaca revolves around its local arts scene, these cuts are creating a sizeable commotion in the area. On Tuesday, March 23, students gathered for a musical jam session to protest the proposed cuts and to promote awareness for the need for music education.

News like this is problematic because it represents what may become a growing trend in school districts that are being pressed to make financial changes. Fewer elementary music programs may very well lead to fewer musicians as children grow older. According to Ithaca College Music Professor Beth Peterson, if students are not getting music education in elementary school, they are less likely to take up music in the 6th grade.

For Berklee College, a school that revolves around music education and needs a steady flow of up-and-coming musicians to stay relevant, diminishing music programs are something to keep an eye on. If there are fewer young musicians, there will be fewer applicants to Berklee, and the college may need to make cuts. Sure, it may seem like one school district is too small to have a grand effect, but if Ithaca’s proposed plan truly represents a growing trend, there may be cause for concern.

As the leader in collegiate musical education, Berklee should consider speaking out on this topic publicly, perhaps through PSAs. There are already a number of grassroots organizations and petitions advocating for music literacy in children, and Berklee could readily partner with any number of these groups to lead the fight for strong music education programs.

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