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Support is strong for music in schools

Serendipity

In case you didn’t know, March is National Music in Our Schools Month.

It started as just one day in 1973 March 1973 in one state (New York), and now it is recognized all over our country with special concerts and programs. In some places, those concerts are held outside of schools in public parks, concert halls, civic buildings, maybe even libraries and shopping malls.

Two things come to mind when I consider music in our local schools. One is how well music programs are supported in schools in our area. It seems like the patrons of our school districts simply expect that there will be music programs at every level. And then they demonstrate their support by attending concerts, supporting fundraising efforts from music departments, encouraging the young musicians along the way, and doing what they can to see that a portion of their tax dollars for school improvements go to maintain or improve music departments.

The other point that comes to me as I consider music in our schools is what a strong role music played in my public school education, both in and out of the classroom as I sang and learned to play my trusty saxophone. In elementary, my class sang in our room led by our classroom teacher. We sang in music class, too, and also from that teacher learned learned fundamentals about reading music and notation. In fourth grade, as an introduction to playing instruments, we all got our very own Tonette. (Think of the flute-like recorder.)

My class even played a song or two together at a high school concert. Now that I’m a parent who has been to my share of elementary concerts, I realize that must have been the ultimate show of support to attend a concert to hear a fourth grade Tonette band.

I was never the star of any vocal or instrumental group I was in, but band offered me the chance to belong, to be a part of something, to be with my peers. In addition to making beautiful music, that’s another benefit of music in our schools. I remember how proud I was when my high school marching band was judged first place in the VEISHEA parade.

The band room then was in a former country school building that was too small for the large numbers of band students, so we were stuffed in shoulder to shoulder for every practice. But with the work of an outstanding band director–we excelled, living proof that it’s not the facility that makes the program. And it somehow made our successes–and our memories– just a little sweeter.

I didn’t realize at the time how blessed I was to have the support of my parents and to be in a school that valued music education. Now, though, I understand how important it is to carry on that tradition of music in schools

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