Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kids Can Be Activists With VH1's

If you read this blog, you are most likely interested in seeing this world get better instead of worse. You must be interested in music, too, and probably education.  I started this blog because I saw a few problems with our current state of affairs:

1. American schools no longer teach music on a universal scale. It is becoming "normal" to grow up without music education.

Joan Baez at an Anti-War Rally
2. Music hasn't been used enough as a tool for Social Change. I've gone to fundraising parties with zero live music on the agenda. This is a mistake for many reasons. Music helps to create a mood for your audience. It brings people together. Music should be used for these purposes! The Joan Baez's and Bob Dylans need to come out of the woodwork and help these causes get their work done.

3. Music lessons are too focused on perfection. Timing and pitch are important... I'm not saying they are not. There is definitely room for perfection in music, but there are other factors involved. Emotional Intelligence must be encouraged more, especially in music lessons. Feeling is the MOST important part of a  performance, IMHO. Not only is feeling and expression important to teach, but it is important for your audience. Which leads me to the final complaint...

Don't let terrible people be the only
influential performers.
4. Music students should be made aware of the fact that they are influencing a crowd of people when they perform, and that should be taken seriously and ethically. Check your own moral code when you are teaching students. When you perform a song about Peace, and you really, really feel it, your audience will feel it too. Based on my own music education, this is not practiced enough on the part of teachers. I recall learning about the "feeling" part of performance from Theatre teachers. Here is a suggestion: Can we begin teaching Ethics to performance students? History is full of terrible people who abuse their oratorical power, like Adolf Hitler. He was an amazing speaker. His stage presence was so powerful that he influenced the death of millions of innocent people.

Ah, Skynyrd...You never surprise me.
On a more current scale, I can think of musicians who abuse their power too. Anyone here ever see a Lynyrd Skynyrd show? They wave confederate flags, for pete's sake. How is that not encouraging the wrong message??

Ok enough preaching. Here is the point I want to make in this blog post. If you are a reader of this blog, you obviously believe in the power and the marriage of Social Change and Music. I stumbled across a VH1 site called This is a wonderful site! It offers inspiring ideas to start taking action on issues you care about. It also gives away grant money EVERY WEEK! There is a section specifically focused on Music Education. I am passionate about the idea that Music Education is essential for a well rounded academic education. If you care about this too, why not start a project where you live to make others aware of this?

Send me a message when you get your project rolling, and I will feature it on this blog. Your action will inspire others to take action too. Imagine if everyone did something to say that music education is important. Imagine how powerful that would be.

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