By Jennifer Maney — I play the guitar and have been doing so since I was 9 years old. I also write and record music. I firmly believe that music holds the power to generate passion and connections not just to the past but to each other.
I also currently have a 13-year old who attends school in a relatively affluent suburb of Milwaukee. She had to choose which alternative she wanted for her musical exploration. Those choices were choir, orchestra, or band. After much discernment about the possibility of leaving the cello behind (her instrument of choice during her grade school years) she opted for choir, which now means that five days a week she has a 50-minute class on how to harmonize with a group, learn about musical history, understand how to follow a conductor, and meet expectations of performance behavior that goes way beyond the classroom.
I recently began to talk with her intentionally about how lucky she is that she has this opportunity, given the current climate in many schools that, if they haven’t already, are discussing eliminating music, dance, and theater programs due to budget cuts.
This brings me to the opportunity I had last week. I witnessed, first-hand, the work of Pius XI Performing Arts Academy. This program offers outreach programs to as many as 26 area grade schools in general music, orchestra, choir, and dance. It is a four-year, sequenced curriculum and its aim is to, among many other things, help students find their artistic potential and utilize the arts as a way to learn about history and other cultures. Continue reading ‘Will the Band Play On? The Future of Music Education’