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November 13, 2011 at 1:08 am Leave a comment

Why Arts Education Must Be Saved | Edutopia

Why Arts Education Must Be Saved | Edutopia.

October 2, 2011 at 3:11 am Leave a comment

Why is Music Basic? The Value of Music Education

Why is Music Basic? The Value of Music Education.

The value of music education is being questioned like never before. When there are more demands than money to meet those demands it forces administrators to make choices. It forces them to place a value on each subject area.

There is a demand for greater concentration upon the traditional basics: English, math, science and history. There is also a new focus on computer competency and a renewed focus on the need for a foreign language. Add to this health education, family life education, industrial arts education, AIDS education, home economics, physical education and business education and one wonders where music education fits in.

Plato once said, “Education in music is most sovereign because more than anything else rhythm and harmony find there way to the inmost should and take strongest hold upon it, bringing with them and imparting grade if one is rightly trained. Why has the value of music education eroded so dramatically from Plato’s position on music education to today’s position?

The idea of music education is good. Few will say they don’t want their kids to know something about music. But few will say they don’t want their kids to know something about the “3-R’s” & maybe a lot about the “3-R’s” and a little about history and science.

And, few want to extend school days or pay the taxes necessary to increase teachers salaries to extend the day. Why should music be a part of basic education? Why should it be up there with English, math and science? Ernest Boyer says the “aesthetic literacy is as basic as linguistic literacy.”

He quotes John Ruskin who said that, “Great Nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts: the book of their deeds, the book of their words, and the book of their art. Not one of these books can be understood unless we read the two others, but of the three the only trustworthy one is the last.”

President Ronald Reagan said, “Civilizations are most often remembered for their art and thought.” He went on to say “I have always believed in the definition of an educated man or woman as one who could, if necessary, refound his or her civilization. That means we must teach our students more than hard facts and floppy disks. We must teach them the rich artistic inheritance of our culture and an appreciation of how fine music enriches both the student who studies it, and the society that produces it. The existence of strong music and fine arts curricula are important to keeping the humanities truly humanizing and liberal arts education, truly liberating.”

When as music educators must accept the challenge of educating the public. Educating the parents of our children in the value of music education is equally important to the other educating we do in the the classroom. One without the other will cause there to be a “fine ending” to music education instead of repeat signs and da capos.

1 Plato, Republic 2 Boyer, Ernest 3 Ruskin, John 4 Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America

The question was asked why music should be a part of basic education. Here are some of the reasons:

1. “A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform” by the National Commissioner on Excellence in Education, recommends that high schools provide vigorous programs in the fine and performing arts.

2. The College Board Report “Academic Preparation for College” includes the arts as one of the six basics to be included in the school curriculum..

3. John Goodlad, author of “A Place Called School” views the arts as one of the “five givers” of human knowledge, along with mathematics and science, literature and language, society and social studies, and vocations.

4. Ernest Boyer’s “High School: A Report on Secondary Education in America,” lists the arts as second curriculum priority, after language, in the proposed core of common learning. This proposed core includes nine subject areas. He goes on to say that music is ranked first among subjects most liked by students and receives high rankings in the areas of importance and difficulty.

5. Howard Gardner’s “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences” states that there are seven forms of intelligence: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily kinesthetic, interpersonal and intrapersonal. None of these ought to have priority over others. We must present and repeatedly reinforce why music is basic and share with the students and parents what our goals are.

“Why music in education?” Some of the reasons are:

1. Music contributes to the school and community environment (quality of life).

2. Music helps prepare students for a career and is an avocation.

3. Music makes the day more alive and interesting, which in turn leads to more learning.

4. Music combines behaviors to promote a higher order of thinking skills.

5. It provides a way to image and create, contribute to self-expression and creativity.

6. Music enriches life, it is a way to understand our cultural heritage as well as other past and present cultures. (see article by Bill Pharis)

7. Performing, consuming and composing are satisfying and rewarding activities.

8. Music contributes to sensitivity (see Gloria Kiester’s articleÑTeaching Music for “feelingful intelligence).

9. Music education provides for perceptualÑmotor development.

10. It encourages team work and cohesiveness.

11. It fosters creativity and individuality.

12. Music education adds to self-worth of participants.

13. Music education fosters discipline and commitment.

14. It is a major source of joy and achievement.

15. Music provides unique and distinct modes of learning (see article by Howard Gardner).

16. Music is a therapeutic outlet for human beings.

17. It is a predictor of life’s success (see article by National Association of Secondary School Principals).

18. It develops intelligence in other areas (see articles by Wendell Harrison, Howard Gardner, Malcom Browne and Tom Cohen).

19. To provide success for some students who have difficulty with other aspects of the school curriculum.

20. To help the student realize that not every aspect of quantifiable and that it is important to cope with the subjective.

21. The music program is very cost-effective (See Save Your Music Program, John L. Benham) What parent or child wouldn’t want the benefits of music education”

July 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm Leave a comment

Tracking Blogs with RSS in Google Reader





Tracking Blogs with RSS in Google Reader.

This is a GREAT how to on keeping up with websites that you want to read frequently.  You can also get your news through this method.  This is how I “subscribe” to our local newspaper for free.  Pretty much anything on the web that is updated, you can run through a reader and read all at once.  It’s also great too cause you can set it to see just subject lines or the whole article Skimming through a ton of information is a piece of cake.

Think of it as a way to make your own personal magazine!  I get information on teaching, music stuff, the news, craft ideas, personal finance articles and some other things I’m embarrassed to mention. (ok I’ll tell you one so you don’t think I too weird) People of Walmart is one I subscribe to to keep myself sane and know I’m not completely crazy…

Let me know if you set up your Reader!

May 29, 2011 at 5:33 pm Leave a comment

Arts in schools: Proven recipe for success

Arts in schools: Proven recipe for success

from OrlandoSentinel.com

Scott Maxwell


4:06 PM EDT, May 28, 2011

Judging solely by the statistics, students at Fern Creek Elementary School should be struggling.

Twenty percent of them are homeless. More than 80 percent receive free or reduced–price lunches.

Yet when FCAT scores came back last week, they were sky-high — with 84 percent of third-graders scoring at grade level or higher on reading and 86 percent for math.

Why? Dedicated teachers. Involved community partners.

And one other very important thing: the arts.

Though some schools have cut arts and music programs in the face of budget woes, Principal Patrick Galatowitsch has kept his cultural offerings at full strength.

And the result of mixing violins and water colors with multiplication tables and vocabulary lists speaks for itself.

Young minds, you see, are like sponges. And when you wet them with just a bit of knowledge, they become thirsty for more.

“There’s very scientific evidence behind all this,” said Mary Perkins, the art teacher at Fern Creek who has children sculpting with old tire pieces and creating mosaics with unused stickers.”It hits a part of their brain that just connects. And things come alive.”

Sometimes the sparks are obvious.

Patterns in an arpeggio have similarities to sequences in math. Unique color names enhance vocabulary. A student moved by the music of “Les Miserables” suddenly wants to know more about the French Revolution.

But the arts can also improve a student’s entire outlook on life.

Just ask Kara Herbert. Her music class at Fern Creek is a vibrant and happy place, full of steel drums, xylophones and conga drums. Third-graders play violins. First-graders dance.

And Herbert has seen students’ confidence skyrocket after they master an instrument they had previously eyed from afar.

“Learning music can helps them in so many ways,” she said. “In general, it makes them more well-rounded students.”

National studies say students involved in the arts have higher self-esteem, are more involved in their communities and often do better on everything from SAT scores to critical analysis … as Fern Creek’s FCAT scores reflect.

Galatowitsch beamed when he looked down at the scores he had just received Thursday morning. But he stressed that educating kids is about more than teaching them to pencil in the right bubbles.

“We’re preparing children for life,” he said. “And to prepare them for life, we need to expose them to all that is wonderful about the world.”

It’s not always easy.

Florida schools are already funded below the national average. So the teachers at Fern Creek work hard to provide their 320 students many of the things that lawmakers in Tallahassee do not.

They work with nonprofits such as A Gift for Teaching. They coordinate with students at the University of Central Florida and artistic scholars at Rollins. Local dance troupes, such as Voci Dance, introduce the kids to movement classes they might never otherwise experience.

“The community support we have for the arts is incredible,” Galatowitsch said. “And our school staff and teachers work above and beyond, uncompensated, to ensure that our students have these opportunities.”

That’s why it galls this overachieving principal when he hears politicians poor-mouthing teachers — and trying to further gut the state’s underfunded school system.

This year, Gov. Rick Scott proposed a record-breaking $3 billion hit to Florida schools.

The Republican-led Legislature wanted to take $1.35 billion.

They settled on the latter, slicing an additional $542 per student from an already strapped system.

After approving the cuts, Scott then had the gall to stage a media event Thursday where he unveiled a new slogan: “Less waste. More for education.”

Galatowitsch simply couldn’t comprehend.

But by Tuesday, he and the rest of the staff at Fern Creek won’t be fretting about Tallahassee. They’ll be back on their tiny campus just north of downtown Orlando focused on their needy students … and budding artists.

The kids may even get back the pieces of art they recently displayed at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum.

“These kids were just so excited,” Perkins recalled of the night their museum show opened. “They felt like real artists.”

Because they were.

smaxwell@tribune.com or 407-420-6141

Copyright © 2011, Orlando Sentinel

May 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm Leave a comment

Orff- the man

Quotes from Carl Orff-

Tell me, I forget, show me, I remember, involve me, I understand.

Elemental music is never just music. It is bound up with movement, dance and speech, and so it is a form of music in which one must participate, in which one is involved not as a listener but as a co-performer.

Experience first, then intellectualize.

Carl Orff was a musician, composer and pedagogue.  His most famous composition is Carmina Burana (1937).  I believe his most important contribution to music, was  his method for teaching music to children.  This summer I hope to write more on his method.

May 17, 2011 at 3:00 am Leave a comment

Brown Bag Recital Schedule

May 14, 2011 at 9:55 pm Leave a comment

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