I find it only safe to warn you, I have put on my “angry eyes” to write this post. I am climbing up onto the soapbox and am going to get a few thoughts out of my head and translated to paper…or computer in this case. Please keep in mind as you read this, these are my personal feelings and thoughts about this topic and not that of the band or its director. I’m not saying they do or don’t agree with me, I’m just making it clear ahead of time, this is all coming from ME and no one else. Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, and if you haven’t hit the back button, let us proceed to the rant, shall we.
Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE football. I mean, I am a huge Steelers fan unquestionably, and because of this, I may have some of you call me a hypocrite, and that’s fine. If you feel that way, it’s your right to. And while I understand that NFL players stem from our colleges, thus from our high schools, please keep what I am saying in perspective and that everything I am talking about is on a primary (in this case 5-12) level.
When did we become a society that is all about modern day gladiators and so little about culture? We live in the Coliseum of a modern day Rome cheering on our favorite gladiators and we care little for what the Michelangelos, Leonardos, Mozarts and Beethovens have to offer us. When did sports start defining our culture?
I am by no means and anti-sports person. Like I said, I’m a HUGE Steelers fan, HOWEVER, I find it disturbing that on the educational level we place so much importance on sports and so little on our arts programs. Now, I’m going to make this down right personal, and if I offend any Hennessey football players or parents, I ask you to try to look at this from the flip side. I am very proud of our football team for taking state for the first time ever, BUT how many more times are we going to honor them? My youngest son just went to solo contest and got a superior rating, pluses in ALL AREAS of his solo and ALL positive comments from the judges. Will he be recognized by anyone other than his director, his class mates and his parents? Doubtful, as I heard a rumor that for the awards assembly THE ARTS AWARDS ARE BEING CUT DO TO TIME. Now, you tell me WHY is not only his 1 rating, but every student who got a 1, which was 12 total, WHY ARE THESE STUDENTS NOT RECOGNIZED LIKE THE SPORTS STUDENTS ARE?? Why is it when budget cuts are mentioned, you NEVER hear about ANY of the sports organizations in that conversation. My personal though is, if you’re gonna cut programs funding…….make it an even cut across the board. Don’t just take from some students …. students who are working towards scholarships in band or music. If you’re going to take money from one, take some from all.
We need to stop sending our kids the message of “If you’re not into sports, you’re nobody.” Please, don’t try to deny that this mindset doesn’t exist. It was there when I was in school, and I heard it everyday. It is there today, and I have heard it from my own child, wondering why. My kids are “band nerds” and proud of it. They are part of an amazing group that is teaching them so much more than just “band”. They are learning skills they need for life.
I was thinking about what we see on TV…and if you think about it, there are so many music related shows out there, and we’re all drawn to them. “American Idol”, “Glee”, “The Sing Off“, “The Jonas Brothers”, “Hannah Montana”, “Lemonade Mouth” and so on. When you get in your car, what do you listen to? I’ll bet some form of music. Kids are excited about music! They want to be a part. Check out this link for some percentages http://www.wannaplaymusic.com/harris-poll-2010/back-school-survey-shows-%E2%80%98glee%E2%80%99-%E2%80%98camp-rock-2%E2%80%99-fuel-kids%E2%80%99-desire-learn-and-make-musi
We should be fighting to keep our music programs strong. We should be letting it be known from our school boards, to our state board, to the federal level that it is so important that we keep our arts programs in our schools. For some of our students it so much more than an extra curricular activity, it’s the very air they breathe. Just come meet some of our band students, and you’ll see what I mean. Music …..music is life.