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Something’s Missing From This Tribute

There are plenty of examples of how the fine arts are being cut back or eliminated in American schools, due to budget cuts and other causes, but this is one of the more ironic twists in that story. This is the 150th anniversary of the birth of John Philip Sousa, "the father of American band music". However, the middle school in the District of Columbia named for Sousa doesn’t have a band to play any of his music. Or a choir. Or any other music instruction.

Unfortunately, they are not alone. There are many schools around the country with little or no arts instruction. Some of the recent cuts in school music programs have come because of the close to non-stop test preparation arising from fears of NCLB sanctions. But the Secretary of Education supports arts programs! He writes letters supporting them! Is there anyway to turn that paper into a trumpet and the time to learn to play it?

1 Comment

  1. aschoolyardblogger

    Early this fall one of my neighbors reported that her son chose the tuba in high school band. She rented one for him and he was marching around the backyard with it when his older sister came home. She saw him with the tuba and told the mother that she couldn’t possibly face school with her younger brother playing a tuba in the band. One of the neighbor kids listening to the story added that he would really take a beating just trying to carry the instrument from the bus to the school. The mother added that the bus driver already told her he can’t ride the bus because the tuba would take up a seat. I am not sure testing, money, time are all to blame for the lapse in music education. (The schools haven’t helped by using the arts as their favorite budget issue for years either.) I personally think as a society we are too um, basically dumbed down, to appreciate what playing music is all about. It will come back into fashion. When it does I bet the money and time will miraculously be there.

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