What If the Music Stopped?
by: Davis Yancy Clegg
The United States has been held in high regard on the academic playing field for some time. It is when great thinkers take a stand and lead us so mountains are moved with nothing more than words. The school systems and social environments that great Americans like Theodore Roosevelt and Daniel Boone attended played no small part in their destinies. We would be remised if we didn’t put every effort available into maintaining the level of education that got us to where we are – as a country – today. Unfortunately, it’s falling upon us to defend one of the most important parts of education. Many schools have cut the funding that allows their music programs to be a part of the curriculum. As a professional musician, it will come as no surprise that I find this nothing less than infuriating. To not be able to look back on the experiences I’ve had in music over the years would be a loss of myself entirely. A few schools here and there can’t be that big of an issue right? Maybe, but the reality that I wasn’t aware of until recently is that 80% of school districts all over the country have been cutting their funding since 2008. The arts and music programs took the blunt of it. It should be painfully obvious that robbing children of one of the things we grow to love most as adults is not a good idea. Former President Bill Clinton would agree with me on this. He is quite the accomplished tenor saxophonist, and he wound up becoming the leader of the free world. Do we need a better argument?
Music inspires people and drives the mind to excel in a creative state. If the concern is missing out on more “important” aspects of education, let’s nullify that here and now. How much do you remember from Algebra II or Calculus? Yeah….me neither. However, I can name all fifty states in alphabetical order very quickly. The reason for that being I learned them as a song. I don’t make this point to try convincing the world that knowing the 50 states is more valuable knowledge than Trigonometry. The point is that music allowed me to learn things much easier and retain them, without revisiting a textbook. There is always an exception to social rules, but I feel pretty confident in saying we all love some type of music. Taking that love away from children at their most impressionable stage will change the fabric that makes up an adult human being. We have to make whatever efforts possible to maintain the foundation that was so hard-fought to get into place to begin with. There are ways outside of the routine school day to advance your education and appreciation of the arts! Luckily, we have reason to not let this make us entirely melancholy! Sir Isaac Newton left us with a plethora of knowledge. One of the most popular of his studies was that of motion. In one of his three laws he tells us, “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Our cultures reaction to this has been a growth in the number of public arts organizations. The Amelia Musical Playhouse is one of these organizations. The playhouse student theatre group has put on a number of events in just two short years. In that time, they have put on 9 musical revues, 9 non-musicals, and 11 full scale musicals. The Amelia Musical Playhouse is entirely volunteer driven. Jill and Gregg DIllingham welcome volunteers to participate in positions on both side of the curtain. With people like Gregg and Jill around the country pulling both performers and enthusiasts together under one cause, there is hope for the arts yet. There are many organizations working to expand the arts. Get out and find your niche in one of your community arts programs. You won’t regret it!