Music For Schools Is In The Parade


I had this thought as I watched my children march by today in the Junior Rose Parade. What if all the schools in the state had music programs that were funded with one goal in mind. All those students would march in a parade for politicians. Maybe call it the “Oregon Parade.”

I would think the politicians would love it. They fund arts programs. And in return, the students march for them in a parade! I know it sounds a bit militaristic that arts programs need to be funded so the party leaders can watch their minions go by, clap and generally admire themselves for the great service they perform. But, really, how else are we going to get the politicos to fund the arts these days? The arguments just don’t ring with these folks. You can tell them how music training makes kids smarter and helps make all that other stuff they learn make a bit more sense. But they yawn and say that the dollars are just not there. You can tell them that a child’s brain develops in a far more sophisticated way when they are learning to play an instrument. Next!

But I tell ya — get them excited about a parade and I betcha music gets more funding than you could ever imagine. “You mean, there will be a parade for me?,” the politician will ask. “Really? And all I have to do is pay for each school to have its own music teachers and instruments for the kids? I’ll sign that music bill! Can I be in the parade, too?”

I don’t see it as too much of a stretch. My kids spent months getting ready for the Junior Rose Parade. School dollars were spent to get them ready. How much of a stretch is it to spend several months, learning music of all genres so they may perform for those admiring fat cats?

The Oregon Parade. Seems like a win-win to me. ;-).

3 Comments so far

  1. Himself (unregistered) on June 7th, 2007 @ 11:04 am

    I’d rather we just funded art for art’s sake. The quality and quantity of arts education in this state is abysmal.

    Growing up in the band-belt of the US Midwest, the question wasn’t “Do you want to play in the band?” but rather “Which instrument do you want to play?” My (public) high school had a marching band, two concert bands (“Symphonic Wind Ensemble”, heh), a symphony orchestra, a chamber orchestra, a couple jazz bands, several choral ensembles, and a pep band, not to mention a first-rate visual arts program.

    Of course it all comes down to funding, as I detailed a while back on my blog:

  2. divebarwife (unregistered) on June 7th, 2007 @ 11:40 am

    I don’t disagree that music in our schools in terribly underfunded – my sis-in-law is a music teacher and I know how little she has to work with.

    But I do think that at the high school level at least – the funds that they do have are terrible misused.

    I am a band geek. I LOVE marching bands and the whole DCI competition – but when you’re working with a limited budget – that type of band program is not what you should be working towards. I see and hear here in Portland of all the schools who do these marching competitions with the color guards using multiple flags and rifles and props and new costumes every year – the band travels around the state and to other states to compete, they have to go to all the Bowl games and big name paraades. That stuff is not cheap – and if we had unlimited $$ that’s awesome. But you could have more kids involved and a better rounded program if they were less focused on competition and more focused on the music and the camraderie of being in bands.

    High school bands march football games and local parades. They don’t need multiple costumes, props and such. They don’t need to go to the Orange Bowl.

    Again – I love that stuff, if we had the money that’d be great – and if you’re kid wants to do that – join DCI. But if the schools who have 50 kids in their top ranked field competitive marching band had just a regular ole march at halftime and play concert music the rest of the year didn’t spend all that money on those extras – you could have a band of 100 on the field every Friday night – ’cause the ones who can’t afford to contribute to all those extras, can now take part.

  3. Andy, school teacher (unregistered) on June 14th, 2007 @ 4:41 am

    Yep, it is a win-win. It is not only about the excitement of politicians, it is also about the excitement and self-esteem of the children, and more motivation for other schools to become involved. Such events are normaly socially approved; and here comes a little bit of competition, which implies the necessity of improvements and further achivements. Everybody benefits after all :-)

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