Music education and who you are

Post by , March 4th, 2014

Well, we all think music education is important for kids, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this blog.

In most cases, it’s because music is important for us, personally. It gets to us, deep down.

Some music moves me down to my toenails. Makes me well up. Tells me, in a way, what is important.

Other music doesn’t, at all.

Are there millions of people for whom no music is moving? No music gets to them? Are they Ministers for Education, education bureaucrats, school principals? On the evidence of how music is in so many government and Catholic schools, we could be left with that suspicion.

Or maybe it does get to them. They just don’t see the relevance to education. They went through the system, like most others didn’t get a music education, still love music. Music education is redundant. Loving music comes naturally end of story.

And after all, no-one in Australia is deprived of music. Inundated, more like. What could music education add?
Good question, if I do say so myself.

Here’s a go at an answer.

What an ordinary life with the iTunes or the radio doesn’t give you is an experience of making music. Or making up music.

What’s important about that extra?

Well, for one thing, you get to express your self. It’s not someone else in one ear out the other. And in the process, you are dealing on the inside with pitch and melody, beat and rhythm, harmony and so on, and using all that to say what you want to say. And if you didn’t have something to say, well now you need to. So go find who you are and sing it. Or sing it and find out who you are.

It’s good that you have your say, but if you want, as someone around here is proposing, the full deal, you will be saying it with some other people. There is no way you can be closer to other people than by making music with them, especially your music.

There is much more to it than that. I just read Sarah Wilson’s amazing article on this site, about the effects of music-making on the brain. It’s a hard read but it is really worth the effort.

If you are reading this, you probably didn’t need to be told all that. But you could tell it to someone who does.

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