How did you learn your alphabet? Was there a song involved? Have you ever taught the alphabet to a three-year-old? Did you do so without a song? Think about what it would be like to teach it without the song. Would the child learn it rapidly? Would the child even be interested in learning it?
But somehow some in our society would like to force music out of education because adults who don't understand education feel that music is an overly expensive and unnecessary "hobby."
In 2011, San Diego proposed cutting virtually all music education in its schools to balance its budget.
Here is an article about the cuts. The comments below the article, now deleted, were as interesting as the article itself: the childless "taxpayer" who feels that schools should teach math and English and forget the "nice-to-haves"; the person who says, "Good. It is about time. Music programs are one of the easiest programs to duplicate by the few parents who have a minority of the students in the school. Get a hall, Hire an ex teacher... done." And there are the ever-present comments about the "bad teachers."
The truth of the matter is that educating a child is complicated business, involving time, motivation and a variety of approaches.
Music is both a physical discipline and a rigorous course of academic study, a unique field that simultaneously trains a child in math, language arts, coordination and cooperation. Only a musical illiterate would think music could be taught as a series of ad-hoc after-school programs and that a teacher with musical expertise and pedagogy is so easy to find that you just stick a random "ex-teacher" in there.
Music is a language, both written and aural. The benefits of a music education come from delving deeper into it than simply singing or scratching the surface experimentally with an instrument. Something like the A-B-C song is only the beginning.
Here are a few of the elements involved in a thorough musical education:
The beginner in music certainly learns to sing, but in the process they also learn to identify scale elements with solfege. Solfege is that series of syllables made famous by the Do-Re-Mi song in the Sound of Music. The syllables can be applied to any music, and someone with good music education is able to do so. For example, this simple song should be easily identifiable by anyone with a musical education:
Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol
Fa Fa Mi Mi Re Re Do....
The brain process here is rather complex and involves much problem-solving, especially in the beginning.
One also learns rhythms: not only how to physically execute them but also rhythmic notation: how those rhythms are translated into written language.
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