Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of music is how it can become something ethereal that transcends the ordinary sensitivities of human art. In other words, music begins to cease being heard and becomes something that is felt. Sound waves in most ordinary contexts would have no noticeable effect on the human sense of touch; yet they can make someone experience other feelings beyond the human sense of hearing.
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Music Prodigy Jacob Collier is quoted saying “For me, [understanding music] about feeling an instrument. For instance, I was given a double bass when I was 14. I’d never played one before, but I’d sung bass parts, I’d played basslines on the piano, I’d listened to bass players. I understood how the bass felt before I’d even picked one up”(Lewis, 2016).
Collier describes the experience of understanding the role of a double bass as something that had to have been felt. He had experienced bass lines in music through listening and playing bass lines on other instruments, however, he describes the collection of those experiences as a feeling. This implies that the role of bass lines as a textural component in music may evoke certain feelings in individuals that are not always kindred to those sensations naturally evoked by human hearing. Sensations like this are both unique and are qualities of music that connect humanity across all cultures. If music has the potential to create such a drastic effect on human emotion, then those potentials should be explored at length.
Music is an artform that is so intricately complex to the point that musicians can theorize and compute an endless number of ways to construct a chord progression; yet is also so simplistic in that it’s most basic construction is of naturally produced waves in air. It is because of these complexities and the potential that they hold that music is significant.
Why Music in the Schools?
Young minds that are presented with the freedom to make their own decisions and that are guided by strong role models grow into productive and exceptional leaders in society. Young minds should always be challenged and encouraged to think extrinsically; they should be encouraged to ask questions. Music education provides a creative outlet for students to explore their own person by making musical decisions, usually under the guidance of a professional music instructor. Because these experiences are often new and offer multitudes of acceptable responses, students are challenged to think outside of the box. Non- Arts courses often fail to regularly provide students with the means to achieve these results in such a productive way.
Music creates an opportunity unique to classes such as math or science in that it challenges students to think critically and solve problems using solutions that are not always consistent. Because of these inconsistent situations, music teachers are effectively preparing students for life. The answers to life’s many onerous ordeals will not often be simple or straightforward. Whereas mathematics or english may prepare students for those aspects of life that require those specific skills, music classes prepare students for the analytical experiences in life that non-arts courses simply cannot prepare a student for.
A music educator should strive to incorporate as many genres and styles of music into their curriculum as possible. Any number of musical genres are culturally relevant to the variety of students a music educator may encounter in their classroom. While an understanding of pre- Twentieth century western music is crucial to understanding how the more relevant music of the post- twentieth century era came to be, an effective music educator will seek to connect young musicians to a wide array of musical examples.
Those seeking to learn more about music do not necessarily need to refer to specific examples provided from an instructor. If music affects an individual in a way that provokes a natural response, then the lesson learned from that experience is just as meaningful. All music has a context and relevance that connects it to a story, history, or culture. Individuals who open themselves to any form of music will have a new perspective to learn from.
Music connects all the cultures on earth. Music Educators should not only place a spotlight on those musical genres that are popularized locally. Educators should seek out examples of fine musicianship around the work to expose their students to. Since much of the music that defines many cultures stems from early folk music, young musicians should be guided to explore those lyrics and melodies and connect to the deeper meanings that they bear. Young minds that are being trained to be well rounded should be exposed to examples of music from around the world.
Who Should Teach?
Though educators are called “Teachers”, educators are incapable of directly implanting their knowledge into every mind. A “Teacher” truthfully should be called a “Shower” or “One Who Shows” because they serve as a guide for students in their quest for knowledge. It is for this reason that educators should not only be qualified in their field of study, but they should also be engaging communicators, thought- provoking debaters, and excellent students.
Educators should consist of individuals who in many ways are selfless. An educator should not seek out their role for financial gain or personal acclaim. An educator also should not take a role under false pretenses. The ideal educator takes their role because they want to encourage the growth and development of young minds. A true educator will stay in their role until they have made such a positive impact that they are no longer truly needed in that community or until it is time for them to impact another community.
In student- educator interaction, the educator should invite the student to develop independent ideas about the subject matter. In the musical context, the educator should allow the student to insert their own expression and creativity into the literature that is performed. If there is a chance for a student to make a musical decision, the student should be encouraged to make it under the guidance of the knowledgeable music educator. The strongest educators raise students that challenge conventional methodology and force the educator to consider alternative viewpoints. In this regard, the relationship between an educator and a student is symbiotic.
Who Should Learn?
Even at an early age, everyone should have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of music theory as it pertains to basic pitch and rhythm. Everyone stands to learn something and benefit from music education. Everyone should have the opportunity to learn about the various cultures and perspectives the music serves to provide. Everyone should also have the opportunity to explore their artistry by learning the fundamentals of instrumental performance.
Music must be made to be an experience that anyone from any background can contribute to because every voice has something to contribute to music. There are many individuals who later in life have submitted to the pattern of tediousness that life often yields, yet still wish that they had taken the time to learn how to play an instrument or sing with proper technique. Music Educators should not only seek to facilitate learning opportunities for those who are in school. Musical opportunities should be encouraged and facilitated-- if possible-- for the young and the old alike.
Fundamentally, the more intricate aspects of music theory and in- depth musical knowledge should belong only to those who seek out such information. Most individuals are capable of learning and utilizing the concepts of music that are more advanced, however not many individuals are capable of applying the information in a way that is meaningful. Furthermore, not everyone will be gifted with musical talent, or with the desire to understand music aesthetically. While everyone should have the opportunity to experience music, not everyone needs to understand why music affects them in such a way.