From the time I was in fourth grade through my senior year of high school I was involved in music. In what feels like a world away from my adult years as a Marine and businessman I had somewhat of an artistic soul. Though I doubt I could play a tune now I was at the time a fairly accomplished flutist. I learned a great deal from my years as a musician and it saddens me that music education is not as prevalent in our schools as it once was.
It seems throughout history art in general suffers the most when the economy gets tough. In a PBS article, The Consequences of Curtailing Music Education, James S. Catterall illustrates this point very well. From a researched based perspective Mr. Catterall also discusses many of the benefits that would be lost as music education funding is cut. This academic insight speaks volumes to the importance of music education in our schools.
My thoughts on the subject reach beyond the academic arena. The years I spent in music taught me valuable lessons. I learned how to interact with a team. I learned to appreciate how the uniqueness of an individual allowed for amazing things to be produced when brought together with others. I learned how the product of everyone acting in unison is far better than anything one person can produce.
The life lessons I learned from my music education would later develop into leadership skills I used on a daily basis. I would even go as far as to say they helped me lead in war. The understanding of how a team can achieve more than a single man was applied constantly. War is somewhat like a piece of music. There is a flow to it, albeit a chaotic one, which the group moves through. Success is greatly dependent on everyone working together to complete the piece.
Taking music education out of our schools is a short-term fix to a greater problem of funding. The most unfortunate part is that we hurt our long-term gain. By limiting expose to our children of a tool they can use throughout life taking music out of schools weakens our society as a whole. We should make the education of our children a priority. Anything proven to be as powerful as music in schools should be championed. It should never be a casualty.