Public school music education one starfish at a time
One Starfish at a TimeBrenda J. Clark, Ph.D.Presentation for TaylorvilleArea Arts CouncilSept. 2, 2010
Backward Glance Early American Music Education Massachusetts Law of 1647 Music traditions transmitted orally Congregational singing involved “lining out” and was of poor quality (no hymnals) Many people, especially ministers, expressed a desire for improvement Many congregations almost split over the issue Around 1723, reformers won their point. Better singers began to sit together in a group (choir)
Development of Singing Schools Developed by Singing Masters to provide their services to cities, towns, and villages for a fee Classes held for all ages wherever space was available Singing master earned additional income by selling tunebooks Singing schools satisfied both musical and social purposes Helped to improve the quality of singing in church
Music Instruction in Public Schools Lowell Mason – highly regarded Singing Master and composer, now regarded as the “Father of Music Education” taught music in Boston School (1838) on experimental basis. (Free) Persuaded the administration to include music in curriculum (supported by taxes)
Music education since 1838 Has developed, matured, and flourished Many excellent choruses, bands, orchestras, small ensembles, soloists; general music classes Adult population is not widely musically literate, appreciative, and participatory Goals? Restrictive conditions impose limits Notable exceptions – some regions of the U.S. have strong musical cultures
1950s Turmoil Societal demands 1957 – Sputnik I Basic skills – reading writing, math $$ poured into education to improve curriculum Arts weren’t excluded, but weren’t supported Perceived as “frills”
1960s Economic strength for education Baby boom = increased enrollment = teacher shortage Educational R & D sponsored by govt. grants Lots of social unrest, societal change
1970s Oil prices up Inflation = inadequate funding for local schools State and federal gov. attention away from ed Enrollments and SAT scores declined Public confidence in schools dropped Education, business, industry, military, and public called for reform “Back-to-Basics” movement
1980s Federal gov had no authority over education Most ed funding from the state and local gov. Fed gov. can identify problems, recommend solutions, offer some (but never enough) funding, and encouragement Other factors – # of school districts 130,000 to 16,000 % of teachers in total staff 96% to 86% amount of school support from local gov. 83% to 43% population almost doubled per-student cost increased almost 500%
National Reports on American Education A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform (1983) (minimally supported the arts) Academic Preparation for College: What Students Need to Know and Be Able to Do (1983) Research based - both reports indicated that the goals of education needed to be clarified
1990s The enactment of federal legislation to adopt national educational standards Provided a way to decide what knowledge students in all states should have.
Goals 2000: Educate America Act National Standards in Music Education1. Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music2. Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music3. Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments4. Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines5. Reading and notating music6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music7. Evaluating music and music performances8. Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) (2001) Supports standards-based education reform Requires states to develop assessments in basic skills to be given to all students in certain grades, if those states are to receive federal funding for schools Standards are set by each individual state So, where are we today?
Scientific Research Shows…. Music Study Helps Young Minds Develop Music is a basic building block of intelligence Playing music develops critical neural connections Music and other arts involvement helps average students transform into exemplary students Is not always reflected in objective measures such as testing regimes
Research Reveals.... Strong Correlations Between Quality Music Education in School and …. Academic achievement Healthy social development Preparation for the 21st century workplace Quality of a young person’s life
Research Reveals… Children taking music lessons improved more over the year on several memory skills tests…. ….Than did children not taking music lessons
High School Music Makers’ Test Scores Higher… UCLA tracked 25,000 students over ten years with U.S. Dept. of Education data Music-making students outperformed non-musical peers Results same for all socioeconomic groups Score higher on SATs Average 57 points higher in verbal Average 41 points higher in math
Music Students are High Achievers in College Music majors are better readers Music majors are the most successful medical school applicants
Music Making Develops Students in Many Ways Better math skills Better social skillsMusic Is a Core Subject•Why, then, are arts programs among the first subjects to be considered for cuts as budgets get tighter?
Making the Case Arts education opens another way of understanding the world in which we live. Each academic subject presents a way of knowing and dealing with the world that is different from other areas.
Take a Stand Supply facts that supports the study of music to everyone who influences public policy Take the initiative in political leadership Don’t give up class time for activities that are supposedly more worthwhile
Take a Stand Don’t give up high visibility; showy programs may help to retain public support Don’t offer to do more for less; quality suffers when teachers are spread too thin Ask for the resources to do a good job Strive for results based on your own determination and administrative changes that you can bring about
Dealing with Change Change is inevitable Understand why change is occurring May have unforeseen benefits Step out of comfort zone Find new sources of cheese
Implementation Cooperation and support of all Arts can have an impact on whole schools and entire communities Study, practice, and appreciation of music does make a difference
Make a Difference For some – change is inevitable – your cheese will be moved – so, what should you do? Revisit goals – strive for a bright future Cope with change by adapting quickly Set off in new directions to find new cheese Be a star thrower - -
One Starfish….. or Piece of Cheese Brenda J. Clark, Ph.D. Presentation for Taylorville Area Arts Council Sept. 2, 2010 at a Time