Tale Of A Lively “Like”
The WholeNote posted the accompanying poster, advocating music in public schools, on our Facebook page last March 19, with a suggestion that our friends “share the post if you agree.” We were expecting a decent response — after all, what’s not to “like” about that? But the actual response was jaw-dropping: 41,233 “shares” (and still counting); well over 1 million views across the English-speaking world as far away as Australia and New Zealand — five cities with more than 200,000 views — Los Angeles and Toronto neck-and-neck for the lead. The response, and the hundreds of comments that came with it, reveal the passion behind the issue of music education and opened our eyes to the potential to harness the power of social and new media to the cause of music education in Canada, the U.S. and beyond.
If you google “music belongs in public schools,” 700 million results appear in 0.17 seconds. If you search on bing.com, you will be presented with 80.4 million links.
Reprieve for TDSB music programs
It took one such groundswell of community murmuring back in June to stop the Toronto District School Board from cutting funding for itinerant music teachers from its budget for the school year about to start. One powerful voice among the many was that of the Coalition for Music Education (musicmakesus.ca), tireless advocates for the necessity of music in a rounded education. It’s worth quoting from their public statement, issued as the crucial TDSB trustee meeting loomed.
“The Coalition for Music Education, Music Canada and MusiCounts [music education charity associated with CARAS] believe in the importance of music education for all young people in schools. We are joining our voices together to urge the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to keep providing a comprehensive education that includes quality music instruction for all students, taught by individuals with a background and training in music. Research has proven that music education provides far-reaching benefits to the lives of young Canadians, to our communities and to our culture. We believe that decisions minimizing any aspect of the TDSB’s music program will have a long-term negative impact on the lives of Toronto students and on the community.
Music is essential to education and to life.
◆ develops skills that are essential in the 21st century workforce,
◆ opens students’ minds to diverse perspectives and thinking,
◆ bridges languages, cultures and generations,
◆ unites us through shared experiences,
enriches our sense of beauty and imagination, and
◆ supports student success.”
As stated earlier, sometimes it helps to make music, and sometimes it helps to make noise! Two days later the TDSB voted, for now, to keep its music programs alive.
The Children’s Music Workshop website has a wealth of material (childrensmusicworkshop.com/advocacy): articles such as “When to Start Playing,” “Playing Music Tunes the Brain” and “Music and Young Minds,” and many other resources such as Music Links. One click on that button will open up a vast world of educational institutions, journals and magazines, and articles on various musical instruments.
The International Society for Music Education is gearing up for the 31st world conference on music education to be held in Porto Alegre, Brazil, next year. Their website (isme.org) provides links and bookmarks of interest as well as an advocacy quotient.
Send ideas and links to firstname.lastname@example.org.