As our school year comes to a close, we want to congratulate you on embarking on what we hope is just one of many years of your child’s (and your own) musical journey.
Perhaps you were thinking that this year may be your last as part of our music program. Maybe you feel as if you “tried” music and now it’s time to move on. But before you make that rather drastic choice, we believe it’s important for you to understand some things your child experienced and learned this year through music — whether you know it or not. Additionally, we are asking you today to join hundreds of parents in this district –and thousands across this nation — in building our music parents’ association in order to come together and strengthen what we believe is an essential part of the core of our children’s education and our community.
We are not necessarily asking you to run bake sales or fundraisers, although we would appreciate if you choose to become involved in that way. We are asking you to be a part of something more enduring and powerful than that. We are asking you to be mindful of the power of music instruction in your children’s K-12 life and come together to form a grassroots movement which powerfully states that music education is a crucial component to your child’s education. Just to know that you are all behind us and will consistently advocate for what we do gives us comfort and strength during difficult times, both today and in the future.
Here are 4 things you are saying — loud and clear — when you join our music parents’ association:
You value a holistic approach to education. By joining our music parents’ community, you are joining a collective voice which states that, by exposing our children to a wide variety of disciplines, they will fine-tune both cognitive and non-cognitive skills while preparing for a well-balanced life in and outside of school. You are stating that you understand shrinking education budgets and growing pressure to raise standardized test scores are causing many schools throughout the country to cut programs that fall outside the core academic subjects of math, language arts and the sciences — but that is not acceptable here. We are committed to laying the foundation for building proficiencies necessary to compete in a workforce where technical abilities and non-cognitive skills such as leadership, conflict resolution, self-discipline, and ethical decision-making are essential — and we know that music is a strong vehicle to enforce these skills.
You realize that all children are talented. Competency in music is not something reserved for a chosen few. Talent — and passion, for that matter — is cultivated, developed, and earned through hard work, perseverance, and grit. More important, these crucial life skills that are developed through your child’s music instruction trade-off into everything else they do, which is why it is so important that they continue instruction for at least another year. With your support, we have a chance to create a generation of students who develop all different types of minds and achieve meaningful forms of success beyond our traditional tests scores, and then share these successes with the broader educational community as a model for all to emulate.
You value play during the school day. In a school system that has, for whatever reasons, narrowed its curricular focus, your children have had the opportunity to play an instrument during the school day. Can you imagine a school day that has no opportunity for play? If you look closely at your child’s musical ensemble experience, you will see that it is a place where they made friends, solved problems by doing, and overcame their fears by experimenting, taking risks — and even failing — in a supportive environment.
You understand that teaching innovation in school cannot occur without the arts. As one education fad after another has passed through our system; as our children have been guinea pigs for “new and improved” tests; as our curriculum has narrowed more than ever before — the power and the delivery of music education hasn’t faltered. Music education is all-inclusive, color-blind, differentiated, and flat-out a transformational experience for all students. We talk a lot about teaching innovation in schools — after all, it is the new currency of the 21st century. If that is truly the case, we must believe as a community that the arts are essential to a school environment that leads to creativity and innovation. With the growth of technology and the access to great art we all have because of it, it is ironic that the arts are becoming less relevant in our education system. If every one of you echo these sentiments just once a month to your school principal, teacher, administrator, PTA or Board of Ed member, you will have done a lot for our music parents’ association.
When you have some time this summer to reflect on your child’s schooling this past year, please take a moment to understand that your child has been transformed, if even just a bit, by the effect of music instruction in their life. For children involved in music, this transformation continues well into adulthood — reaping benefits oftentimes not evident until successes later on in life that are inevitably attributed to skills developed through their engagement in music. You know in your gut that our society needs and values more than academic abilities now more than ever. Your children have so much to offer in the way of innovation, intuition, practical skills and creativity — and they have a chance to develop these attributes daily through music instruction if they don’t quit now.
No matter how rough your young clarinetist or violinist sounded this year, join us in understanding that those raw sounds are critical processes in the ability of your children to create and innovate in their future in anything they do. Therefore, we not only ask that you not allow your child’s school music experience to end here today — we are asking you to join a movement of parents who strongly let our world know that we value the power that music instruction in our schools has in developing our future generation of great thinkers — and great humans.
Please join us.
Your Music Parents’ Association