2003.8.22 – saving the music

Before I begin…I just want to say that today is officially my one year anniversary here at the ‘wash! 22 August 2002 was the day I wrote my first column and since then it has been a wild and wonderful ride. Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere…I just wanted to acknowledge the milestone. It doesn’t feel like it has been a year, yadda yadda yadda…Thanks to all the readers and columnists who have stuck with me thus far. It has been fun and there is definitely more where that came from!

So…without further ado…

What would the world be like without music? Waiting rooms, elevators, grocery stores, office hallways, window shopping sidewalks, coffeehouses, hotel lobbies, restaurants and parades would all be silent. Without music the world wouldn’t feel alive. Without music colours would seem more pale and sunshine would be blah. Without music voices would be monotone and television shows would be stagnant. Would you ever want to live in a world without music? I know that I certainly wouldn’t and yet, political leaders feel otherwise.

Music is a basic part of my being. Without it, the days would be totally useless. The same can be said for fine art, but on a smaller scale then melodies and harmonies. It is a well known fact that music helps kids retain more information in school and can be a great factor in the development of useful problem solving skills.

Due to these facts it is a travesty that music and art are ever cut from the public school system. Starting with grammar school, the arts are always the first department to be dwindled down. If you don’t begin teaching kids about music theory, how to play a musical instrument or sing, and giving them a sense of rhythm why would any child want to take up these things in high school? Children are like clay in grammar school. They are easily molded and subjects like music, art and even foreign languages are more comprehendible. Learning these skills at an early age benefits future studies by training the brain in a different manner.

Music can serve as an extension of your being. Without music there is no personality. No presence. No identity. No meaning. In my own life, music serves as a soundtrack to my day. A cd player in the bathroom provides me with shower music while my car stereo gets me to work everyday. Internet radio helps me make it through the job and the car stereo brings me back home. Music serves as a background to my favourite television programs and puts me to sleep every night through my clock radio.

My own personality is extended through the music that I listen to. While studying music in college I was exposed to many different forms of melody. Some that stuck with me and some that I left in the classroom. The music that I took out of that experience gave me a more vivid appreciation for all types of music. In college the goth scene was something I couldn’t live without. Nine Inch Nails, Nitzer Ebb, Ministry, andBauhaus were staples. The music had a culture that I somehow identified with and needed to be a part of. Black clothes, fingernails, hair and eyeliner were must haves and I played the goth music part. As my personality changed I stopped the dressing up, but continued to love the music. My appearance changed but the music stayed with me.

So, what can we do to keep the music flowing? Write to your local officials and demand that music and art programs in public schools not be cut. Ask that other budget options be looked at. If these officials had a good music and art education to begin with their creativity should be developed enough to think of a better way to balance the budget. Creativity is the key after all. Without it, where would we be?


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