Cue the Violins: The Disappearance of Music Education Programs in School
Organize Fundraisers for Music Education
No one fully understands the impact that music education has on a child’s creative thought process development. Unless, of course if they have experienced those effects as a child them self. Learning how to read music and play an instrument does more for their abstract reasoning skills than computer training. Oddly enough, music programs are not being replaced with something as beneficial as coding instruction. So essentially, the educational elements that influence creative reasoning are being removed from the school’s curriculum. And sadly with no comparable replacement. The answer is to organize fundraisers for music education.
The effects of classical music on the human brain has been studied extensively by scientists for decades. So far, they’ve proved that listening to classical music enhances dopamine levels, improves learning and memory, and increases synapse connection. If listening to classical music does that, imagine what learning to play it does. Many people don’t understand the incredible benefits of orchestra in middle and high school. So, it’s the responsibility of the teachers and students to protect the funding of these school programs by raising awareness.
Raise Awareness of Music’s Impact
A tremble spreads through the entire ensemble at crescendo. And for a moment in time, you feel like you are both musician and music. “Being in orchestra makes you feel like you’re part of a very special family. When we play, we all become one,” a 9th grade student said about their experience in a public school orchestra. In addition to building confidence and discipline in children, orchestra introduces team work, problem solving with high thinking skills, and self-expression to children who commit to it. Some ways to raise awareness of the great impact it has on students are:
- Connect students to their potential donors in a fun way. Make sure students are present at school functions as well as local businesses. This way they can to introduce themselves and share their experiences with being a part of the music program.
- Use social media to promote those appearances. Engagement is key, so be willing to create posts that are teaching people something they didn’t know before on a consistent basis.
- Let your personality shine. It’s easy to stereotype classical kids as serious. However, there’s so much more to your crew than that! Encourage them to interact with the crowd at performances and events.
Make Administrators Accountable
Music education has been proven to help students:
- Improve memory and focus
- Achieve higher test scores
- Develop high level problem solving skills.
So then why are those programs among the first to be cut from schools? School administration can help protect these by addressing a few issues that are common across school systems.
- Lack of fiscal imagination. Administrators don’t understand how school music programs save the school money over time. By keeping these elective programs open, schools eliminate the need to rehire new elective teachers later on.
- Weak music programs. Music instructors and directors must rally the administration, parents, and the community around music education. Otherwise, they will often leave themselves and their orchestra on an island with little to no support.
- Misapplied focus on academic ability. We must acknowledge the fact that music education enhances academic ability and performance. This can bring administration and school systems back into alignment with the needs of the students.
Finally, be aware of when school budgets are proposed and when elections are for school board members. This can help you address many of the issues that affect your orchestra.
Great Ways to Have School Music Department Fun
A man with a cello was sitting on the platform at Grand Central Station in Manhattan one day. Noisy passengers rushed so loudly past him that at first the music was difficult to hear. However, the deep, rich sound of the cello resounded over thousands of footsteps and frustrated excuse me’s. Eventually it caught the attention of a rather large standing crowd. It wasn’t long before the police came to ask the man to pack up and go somewhere else. Now, if one man with a cello had the presence to stop a city in its tracks… Imagine the power of an entire orchestra playing Beethoven in the park! Giving people the rare gift of free live orchestral music engages them in a way that many may never have been engaged with before.
Live events can take place anywhere a crowd is sure to form.
- Your city’s downtown park or busy area. Make sure you get a city permit to perform prior to setting up.
- Local business. Bookstores, coffee shops, and even college campuses are great places to fund raise. This is because patrons generally respect the concentration and effort it takes to learn and master classical music compositions.
- School PTA meetings. Reaching out to parents over various school committees will help the orchestra connect to a wider network of potential donors.
Strings in harmony have a language all on their own. Live music fundraisers allow you to generate donations without having to ask people to see the benefit verbally. Simply put, the music speaks for the cause. Greater than improving cognitive function, music is a universal language that connects people across all imaginary barriers. It invites everyone to enjoy and participate in its experience, and that’s what orchestra is all about.