Without music, life would be a mistake.A recent report from the Education Department shows that fewer schools are offering classes in the arts, as severe budget cuts take their toll. Even more disturbing is that while the availability of music classes in richer school districts held steady, poor students are being affected disproportionately by cuts in music programs. This fact should concern all of us that want our future leaders to succeed and thrive, as music education has proven benefits that help them both in school and life.
It was my 16th birthday - my mom and dad gave me my Goya classical guitar that day. I sat down, wrote this song, and I just knew that that was the only thing I could ever really do - write songs and sing them to people.I admit to being biased, as I've been a musician for nearly all of my life. It has brought me the greatest joys in my life and was a refuge for those times I needed it. I was lucky to grow up in Minnesota, where the support for music programs in the schools has always been good. Unfortunately, the relentless budget cuts to schools are affecting music programs here as well. One of the schools that my choir will be singing at this spring has no music programs at all, which is shameful.
It is beyond doubt that music education helps students, and these types of cuts are penny-wise-pound-foolish. Especially in schools with many poor students trying to improve on their test scores, it seems especially short-sighted. Numerous studies have proven that music and arts education help with brain development, math skills, substance abuse, improving IQ (PDF), with other benefits such as improving problem solving, socialization, self esteem. & grade point average.
I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me-like food or water.Even without all the tangibile benefits, I worry that these cuts will leave us all worse off as a people. I worry about the future Ray Charles or Stevie Nicks who never discover their gifts because our broken education system never gave them the chance to sing or play an instrument. How very poor our society will be without their voices to speak to our common humanity. Let us hope that we start funding instruments of peace such as the arts instead of instruments of war and destruction as we have in the past.
I leave you with a final quote, and I know it's true because I've seen it every time I'm on stage.
Music can change the world because it can change people.PEACE