Wednesday, September 8, 2010

what i think about music education cuts

less music, art, and physical education for oregon students:

i am, naturally, a proponent of art and music curriculum. why? because i believe creativity is important. creativity is self expression-- i see art and music as a tangible or audible way for people to relate the way they see the world to themselves or others.

and so often, it's not fostered. in a culture where things are pre-created, whether that be with tv shows, movies, video games-- kids are less and less called upon to create their own world. it's only part of the reason i think art/music is all the more important in public education.

i feel so strongly about music programs in particular because of the impact they have had in my life. i can say honestly that i would not be writing music and singing today if not for my middle and high school choir teachers/choral programs. so that is what i will focus on.

when i went to high school, 130 kids were in choir. the total enrollment at the high school was approximately 1500, so the amount of students in choir translates to roughly 10% of the entire student body. this percentage does not include students in the band and orchestra programs. i would estimate at least 20% of the school was involved in a music program of some sort. needless to say, being a part of a musical group appeared to be pretty important to a large group of people. which i think speaks to the importance of music programs.

this is what i've learned in my years of involvement with music programs:

music teaches students how to function as part of a bigger unit-- and realize that their individual contribution is an integral part of the group as a whole. it is unifying-- students from a cross-section of groups and backgrounds and levels of talent work toward a single goal. they learn to blend, to suppress the diva inside of them and listen to those around them. additionally, students are given a sense of ownership of their accomplishments-- the final product is a culmination of both their own hard work and the work of their peers. regardless of whether or not someone is bound for a solo singing career, students can take pride in being part of the sound created by the group. it builds community--most people i talk to about former band, choir, or orchestra experiences have memories of trips they took or competitions/festivals they took part of as a part of their music group. it gives identity-- you don't even have to be the best of the musicians to identify as a part of a group. and identity gives empowerment. i feel similarly about organized sports. being a part of a team-- winning and losing together, considering the needs of the team before your own, yet realizing your efforts are vital for the team's success-- is important.


it can provide self confidence in children who do not excel academically.

it makes for a more well rounded person.

it provides kids an exposure to music they would have otherwise not had (especially if their parents cannot afford to send them to private lessons)

in the early days of music education, foundations for mathematical concepts are built (the way music is organized, i.e., 4 quarter notes make a whole note, 2 half notes make a whole note, etc.)

i hold the same to be true of art and pe.

art encourages self expression. individuality.

physical education encourages a healthy self image. if you are capable of being active, if you have a healthy lifestyle-- you feel better about yourself, which is particularly important to children.

i think that about covers it. did i miss anything?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

things i listen to


1 r.e.m.: at my most beautiful.
2 sufjan stevens: the dress looks nice on you.
3 noah & the whale: first day of spring.
4 radiohead: sail to the moon.
5 bruce springsteen: secret garden.
6 the shins: those to come. (and everything, really).
7 cat stevens: how can i tell you.
8 radiohead: all i need.
9 tom waits: take me home.
10 band of horses: no one's gonna love you.
11 coldplay: sparks.
12 damien rice: the animals were gone.
13 nina simone: don't let me be misunderstood.
14 andrew bird: imitosis.
15 david plell: favorite tourism.
16 wolf parade: call it a ritual.
17 florence & the machine: rabbit heart.
18 david gray: please forgive me.
19 priory: lady of late ( .
20 beirut: a sunday smile.

have any suggestions for me?

with love,

Thursday, September 2, 2010

maxwell's silver hammer

maxwell is my kitten. he's growing up-- in his teenage years , vacillating between completely crazed and completely sweet. he's like a little engine- always purring. he's like me: he gets happy when he eats. you can tell because as soon as you bring out his food, he purrs. he fears nothing, with the exception of my hair dryer.

i often wonder what is going on in his little head. he's so curious, and i try to remember having that kind of curiosity about the world around me. when i was little, my mom said i did nothing but point at things, everything, and ask "what's that?"

sometimes, when i think of it, i look around and there is much to wonder at: people, also thinking a thousand things in ways completely unique to themselves, the complexity of things growing and blooming, gravity and laughter and breathing and how maxwell purrs as he lays on my stomach.

time to start the day with coffee.

with love,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


hello. this is my first entry in the world of blogs, as heretofore i've kept my personal musings between the covers of a notebook, or nestled in a folder of word docs.

i'm tired, even though it's only 11:30pm, so i'll make it short:

it's starting to feel like fall, my favorite season. it's starting to feel like coffee&a book weather, scarf&boots weather, orange&red&yellow leaves weather. people are starting to build fires and i love the smell... and for the first time in eleven years, i live in a house with a wood burning fireplace.

it's the first time in sixteen years that i walked by the back-to-school section in target and didn't pick up a single thing.

it's strange-- this break in structure. my mind craves some sort of exercise, so i think i'll be reading a lot this fall. give me suggestions-- i'd love them.

but mostly this time will be utilized for music things. making music, playing music, listening to music, going to every show i'm in town for, learning as much from as many people as i can.

now i'm off to daydream land with radiohead as the soundtrack.

with love,