Karl Miller responded to Mimi Ezust:
>>Unfortunately, in the USA music is not the only subject falling by the
>>wayside. If we continue along this discouraging road, soon there will
>>be no science articles, no technical columns, and nothing left in print
>>or on television that makes our children want to do anything that requires
>For me, the question is, why isn't music (and writing, etc.) part of the
>public school education...I guess because it isn't seen to be important?
>If not, who says it isn't important and why do they say that?
While not wanting to speak for Mimi, I share her frustration in that I
see curriculum battles (health education, origins of life, history etc.)
in U.S. schools continue to suck up energy and oxygen, not to mention
resources. All in an age when American anti-intellectualism will do
little for our competitiveness in a world that will not wait for our
As for musical education, I think it still varies from area to area. A
colleague at my workplace recently moved to the Washington DC area from
a very affluent Ventura County suburb of L.A., and one of the differences
she mentioned between the two places is that there is a functioning music
program in the public school system where her kids (and mine) attend.
Not so where she used to live.
>Is it because they haven't experience music and didn't find it important
>in their lives? Sometimes I think the "problem" with music, is that it
>is difficult to quantify within the context of the educational system.
It may be difficult to quantify, within the ever-proliferating series
of standardized tests that the States and the Feds keep adding onto the
kids to show "accountability."
Knowing that I've mentioned this before, my kids have attended a magnet
school for the Arts and Sciences in our system, where EVERY third grader,
AND their teachers, were required to take violin classes for that year.
The overall long term effect on the kids is something I have not tried
to check upon, but clearly it's an exception to the rule of how music
is treated in public schools, even in our system as a whole.
However, in this age of No Child Left Behind, the school principal has
expressed concern that music instruction such as this will contribute
to the school ultimately earning a Failing grade under the "rules." So
could most of the other science and art enrichment activities they do.