Can Parents Fill In When Schools Cut Music?
Don Aucoin of The Boston Globe recently wrote an article in which he explains “How parents can fill the void when schools cut arts and music programs.” In summary:
“The first art to develop is the art of looking.…
The next step is to take them to a museum, so they can see how the pros do it…”
Or, in the case of music specifically:
“The next step is to take the children to a ‘starter show’ like ‘Shear Madness,’ then graduate to ‘Blue Man Group,’ and then on to more challenging fare.”
Where’s the next step? Where does the student actually learn the basics of creating art? For musicians, when do they learn to read music, sing or play an instrument?
It seems to me that the critical component that is missing when relying on parents to teach the arts is anything that actually has to do with being either an actual artist or even, for that matter, an informed audience.
I really do not see this as a sustainable model. Not even today’s parents have the cultural awareness that generations in the past would have had; how can we expect the next generation to have anything at all worthwhile to pass on? While it may be somewhat useful to “look” or “listen” we can not possibly expect that this constitutes the intellectual engagement that is required for art.
If we actually do value art (which I would venture to say is more a case of lip-service these days) then we need to invest in actual art education by which students gain knowledge and skills with at least the basic materials of arts such that they can minimally engage intellectually with what practicing artists produce. Only then can we fairly say that we are helping develop our students’ lives through art.