The ‘Squeeze’ On Music Education

When I was in fifth grade I remember the best days were when we go to either art or music and we got to paint something or play instruments. Those were the moments that really stuck with me; not learning my grammar in English and not memorizing equations. Recently, Michael Blakeslee, the deputy director of the Music Education Conference (MENC) talked about school board’s making hard decisions like ”What if we don’t start band in the fifth grade? What if we wait until the seventh grade?” He goes on to explain that this national lack of music funding, “has a long-term impact on what goes on in schools with music at the undergraduate and graduate level, and our culture as a whole”

Program Manager at VH1’s Save The Music Foundation, Rob Davidson, explains that standardizes testing has had a “squeezing effect” on the funding for music, arts, physical ed, social studies and other subjects that are not tested. This truly touches upon the fear of standardized tests that we teach kids how to be good test takers as oppose to being creative thinkers. It is ironic that the end result we want is a competitive workforce and so we create these standardized tests to measure the progress and then cut funding for music and art programs to teach to the test even though music and arts education has proven to spur the innovative workforce we desire.

Blakeslee went on to conclude, “The current [Obama] administration has said some very nice things, but most actions have not been favorable to music education.” National cutbacks on music should inspire us to localized solution like www.Studio120Music.com to help music programs school to school, district to district, and state to state. But also think locally about how you could help music programs by holding fundraisers, directly donating, or just volunteering as an assistant.