Marilyn Rhames laments how budget cuts have eliminated many school-based music education programs from all but the most wealthy public and private schools.
Inspired by the desire of her eight year old daughter to take violin lessons, Ms. Rhames visited the workshop of Gary Garavaglia, winner of the prestigious “Silver in Tone” award for violin quality, to learn more about string instruments and how they are made from blocks of maple, oak, spruce, and ebony.
She learned that it takes three and a half years at a special school to become a luthier, or string-instrument maker, and it takes over 250 hours to make a violin.
The decline in school-based music programs, however, has lessened the demand for music instruments and she wondered about the future of the luthiers.
She writes, “Educators know that playing an instrument—especially a stringed instrument like the violin—improves brain function in children,” but the need to provide students with opportunities in music is “…often lost on policymakers who lately only seem laser-focused on academic college-readiness and streamlining school budgets.”
So, she suggests that restoring school-based music education programs would not only better prepare students for higher education and careers, but would also help the national economy, by increasing the demand for music instruments and the number of skilled musicians to play them.
See “For the Love of Music, Teach Violin in Schools! by Marilyn Rhames, Charting My Own Course Blog, Education Week, October 1, 2014 at http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/charting_my_own_course/2014/10/the_lack_of_music_instruction_in_schools_creates_secret_societies.html
The FYI Arts updates are written by Joan Platz, Research and Knowledge Director for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education. The purpose of FYI Arts is to keep arts education advocates informed about issues dealing with the arts, education, policy, research, and opportunities. The distribution of this information is made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Music Education Association ( www.omea-ohio.org), Ohio Art Education Association ( www.oaea.org), Ohio Educational Theatre Association ( www.ohedta.org); OhioDance (www.ohiodance.org), and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education ( www.oaae.net).