Why Teach Music?
by Deborah Jeter

Why Teach Music?

Ever wonder why music has gotten a bad rap within the education system so many times throughout the years? I have. It’s bothered me that with all the documentation stating how important music is for the development of the whole child/person, that more people aren’t aware of it’s critical importance. Without going into the research, ’cause that would be like “preaching to the choir” at this site, (a community of music lovers). I am going to focus on some general and obvious ways music enhances our thinking, our reasoning, our emotions, and our intelligence.

The following information was primarily obtained from Southern Music Company in San Antonio, with some of my own beliefs inserted on a “soap box” here and there. I chose to share this information, because many of us will be taking on new students, privately or publicly in the near future. Not only is it a good reminder for us on those more difficult and trying days where we sit and wonder why do I put myself through this?, but it is also a good reference to hand out to parents, and even music-sceptics. It can’t hurt!

Why Teach Music?
Music is relevant to the core curriculum (the three R’s)?
Let us count the ways.

Music is mathematical.

It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions whci must be done instananeously, and not worked out on paper.
Music helps us learn to read and develop creativity.

Music teaches us to interpret meaning, to form lyrical, melodic thoughts. Music helps us to commit to memory making learning more fun.
Music is a Science.

It is exact, specific, and it demands exact acoustics. A conductor’s full score is a chart, a graph which indicates frequencies, intensities, volume changes, melody, and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time.
Music is a foreign language.

Most of the terms are in Italian, German, or French; and the notation is certainly not English – but a highly developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas. The semantics of music is the most complete and universal language.
Music is Historical.

Music usually reflects the environment and times of its creation, often even the country and/or racial feeling.
Music is Physical Education

Music requires fantastic coordination of fingers, hands, arms, lips, cheeks, and facial muscles, in addition to extraordinary control of the diaphragm, back, stomach, and chest muscles, which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and the mind interprets.
Music develops insight and demands research. Music is all of these things, but most of all . . .

Music is ART. It allows a human being to take all these dry, technically, difficult techniques and use them to create emotion. That is one thing science cannot duplicate: feeling, emotion and yes, if you will allow me . . . humanism.
For all of these reasons and countless more, we are Teachers of Music. Don’t we believe in the greatness that music instills in our students? Don’t we believe in the discipline, the dedication, the development of self-esteem, and don’t we enjoy witnessing our students becoming, literallly, vessels of beauty?

Yes, the planting season is upon us, (figurativly) once again. We drop our seeds of knowledge in their curious minds and then draw from them MIRACLES. We encourage our students to “weather” the seasons, in hopes that someday, they will become what they are meant to become . .. . loving, caring, lovers of the art we call music.

Is that not why we teach music?!

We teach not because we expect our students to major in music; not because we expect them to play or sing all of their lives . . .
But, because music has the ability to make them more sensitive to beauty and live more closely to an Infinite, beyond this world. Hopefully, this will allow them to have something to cling to, and thusly, experience more depth as a person. We teach music because we believe our students will develop more compassion, gentleness, love, and, in short, a greater appreciation of life.