27 March 2008

Music Education: Pro vs. Con

With funding for public school music and art programs in constant jeopardy, it is crucial for all advocates of such programs to be armed with knowledge of their many benefits, as well as some of the counterarguments that detractors may rely on. Here, then, are the views of two esteemed guest columnists. Defending the programs against the philistine onslaught known as the "small government" movement is Ray Dolcissimo, a veteran band parent, self-appointed child development expert, and hack guitar player. Defending the rights of taxpayers to not educate their children is Dave Ruvido, a libertarian activist, truck driver, and junior high school drop out.

Pro: Mr. Dolcissimo
First off, it is well known that teenagers require far more sleep than the average adult, and that failing to get adequate rest each night can lead to underachievement in high school. Listening to music, however, is a surefire way to put anyone to sleep in short order. I can't seem to stay awake for more than 3 minutes of it myself. Though the music of pre-classic Europeans, minimalist Americans, and most smooth jazz artists seems to be particularly well-suited to this purpose, it's a property that all music seems to share pretty much across the board. We must not be left behind in recognizing this inherent value of music, one which much of the rest of American society has come to embrace wholeheartedly in recent times. By developing a love for music in elementary school, students will acquire a proficiency at sleeping that will last well into adulthood.

Second, as an art that deals with the communication of emotion, music is uniquely well-suited to fostering healthy emotional development among students. Who could ever forget the fear created by an upcoming scale quiz, the anger at malfunctioning school-owned instruments, the jealousy directed at the first chair players, or the utter shock of encountering an accidental in one's part? It's a proven fact that kids who study music are better in touch with their emotions. I don't think that's a coincidence.

I'll close with a question: would you want your own kids to be sleep deprived and full of pent-up emotion? Or do you want to raise healthy, well-rested and spaz-tastic young adults who are so excited about going to school each day, they insist on having a car so that they can drive there themselves? I implore you to recognize the undeniable benefits of a complete education, one which includes music and art as well as all of the traditional "core" subjects. We simply owe our kids the opportunity to experience music and all its attendant benefits.

Con: Mr. Ruvido
What's the worst thing that could happen to a kid just because his school had no band for him to play in? Maybe he actually starts doing his homework, or gets involved in a sport, or better yet, gets a damn job and stops freeloadin' off his parents. Now riddle me this: what's the worst that could happen to him if he does join the high school band and starts to kinda like it? I'll tell you what: he tries to make a career out of it.

The last thing we need is more hippy scumbags fighting each other for work and not earnin' any money. They might as well dropout now and get started drivin' a truck. We hear so much blather about certain activities providing kids something to do other than roam the streets and become drug addicts, but isn't that exactly what musicians do anyway? It's hard to understand how music could keep kids off drugs; if anything, it's more likely to lead the to a drug habit they wouldn't have developed otherwise.

Music not only carries the same risks as teen vagrancy, it is a drug itself: it causes musicians to withdraw from family and friends, spend all their money on recordings and instrument accessories, and become despondent most of the time over finding gigs and having enough time to practice. What good is it to keep a kid off the street when he's going to end up addicted to music anyway? I'm not payin' one cent of my hard-earned dough for little Johnny to develop a music habit. End of story.


Nick Zielinski said...

Mr. Ruvido wins.

Anonymous said...

both of your arguments are....interesting...to say the least. first there are plenty of studies showing how learning music help students become engaged in school. now had Mr.Ruvido argued the point of it would increase an already long school day or used some actual statistics i think your opinion might hold a little more persuasion. and the bit about getting involved with sports instead of music, it just makes you sound like an opinionated close minded jock. the same for Mr. Dolcissimo. you have some good points but it would be better if you could put some of the many studies in. the way you put the sleeping part in makes music sound boring.

so....both of your arguments lack in general....b the way i am a musician and have never touched drugs.

Anonymous said...

Pro is definetly my side, Mr. Rudivo, I doubt you have EVER played an instrument. I play the Baritone, Alto, and Tenor Saxaphone. I have a good paying job, from my dad actually, i NEVER freeload from my parents, and drugs are, well, DRUGS. Drugs=Bad news.

Not to mention I am in my school's stage band, and regular band, I am soon to join a band, I am joining my local Saxaophone club, and I participate in a week long Jazz club in the summer. So back off man.

Anonymous said...

I believe that music helps people in many ways, yet it doesn't HAVE to be in school. Schools should have activities that everyone has an interest in. Not everyone has an interest in band or choir. Besides, it isn't like school is the only place to have music classes.

Anonymous said...

Well Mr. Rudivo, I'm going to have to dissagree mith you. I have been in band class since fifth grade and, coincidentally, that's when I started doing better in school. Guess what. I'm first in my class now. In fact, in fourth grade I had to see a counselor because my teachers thought I wanted to kill myself. They weren't wrong. The next year I started band and I got alot better. I don't have as many problems now because of music. It gave me something to strive and achieve in. I'm a very avid musician now but yet I've never done drugs. My bandmates actually seem to consist of amazing kids who all are going to do amazing things for the world. I play Baritone, Trombone, Tuba, Trumpet, Keyboard, and Guitar. So don't try to tell me that music has negativiely affected me because as far as I can tell, music has given me my life.

Anonymous said...

You both are in the wrong. Leave people to their own devices. If they want to get into music, let them. They may even succesfully make a career out of it. If they fail, that may be their problem. If they don't, let them. Either way they could be very succesful. Typically though, band students are very bright and keep up with their homework and classes more than students who aren't. There's many perspectives to look at it from.

Anonymous said...

You clearly know nothing. Your cons made no sense whatsoever. Im going to be a music major in a year. The majority of my friends are musicians. Not a single one of my friends or I do drugs first of all. Second of all I know PLENTY of music majors who have jobs and are happy and successful. Music is something you take with you your whole life and it isnt just something you have as a career. My best friend's dad is in a oldies rock band as a side job and it brings him more joy than most things. Joy. That is what music is. I dont care if u dont approve this because the point is that you read it. You will clearly never understand music's importance and i feel sorry for you and those around you because you are extremely and sadly misinformed and ignorant.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ruvido is probably the stupidest person alive. Music is scientifically shown to develop kids' and teens' brains in ways that are advantageous to non-musicians. It helps kids to develop skills they can apply to other subjects, raises IQ scores, and promotes maturity, unlike Mr. Ruvido, who thinks swearing about and accusing music of being a drug for hippies is mature.