By Marty Wimmer, Classical 94.5 WNED program host
As a music teacher, one might think I’d be offended by the question, “Why is music education important?” Music has its own intrinsic value. It needs no further justification. However, some don’t see it that way. Some think of music as an extra. They need further convincing. Thus, this is an opportunity.
Unsure of how to begin, I posed the question to my Facebook friends (this is 2013, after all). I expected to get a few short remarks and maybe a couple of talking points from them, but boy was I surprised! I received 30 thoughtful and passionate responses. It was humbling. I’m the music teacher. I’m supposed to be the one most able to articulate the value of music education. I assume that’s why I was asked the question in the first place, but my ideas couldn’t compare to the heartfelt responses from my friends.
My friend “E” grew up with major physical challenges. She wrote, “Music was important to me because it was something I could do well It was an important self-esteem boost.”
My friend “S” who lives in Los Angeles now wrote, “I owe everything I am to an awesome music teacher. The discipline I learned from her transferred to all my other subjects.”
My childhood friend “N” wrote, “Music literally saved me. I had it rough as a kid. My involvement in the music program kept me from wrecking my life.”
Many friends said that music helped them with science, math, foreign language, history, physical education and art.
The most touching response, however came from a friend whose teenage son was seriously depressed. It was scary. She said that his participation in the high school band probably saved his life. “He finally made friends - and it was all through music.”
Why is music education important? Comment below and ask YOUR friends.
Marty Wimmer is a program host on Classical 94.5/WNED and a veteran public school music teacher.