MUSIC IS A SCIENCE Music 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 exact control of time. The laws of physics are involved with every tone that is performed.
MUSIC IS MATHEMATICAL The organization of notes in music is rhythmically based on the division of time into differing fractions within a measure unit which may vary in length from unit to unit. The mental gymnastics required to perform this must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper, and with complete coordination of the fingers, lips and other appendages of the body needed to produce that note.
MUSIC IS A FOREIGN LANGUAGE Music is its own language in two ways: (I) it uses foreign terms and (2) it is a totally new language built on symbols. The terms in music are French, Italian and German for the most part. However, it is not unusual to see terms in Russian, Hungarian, Norwegian, Japanese or Spanish. The semantics of music is the most complete and the most universal of all languages. Not only are you told what note to play and when, but also how fast, how loud, what kind of attack and how long. It will be played the same way in Japan, in the United States or in Europe.
MUSIC IS HISTORY Music usually reflects the environment and times of its creation, often even the nationalistic or racial feeling the country from which it comes. Music has been entwined with religion, royalty and the common man from every area of the earth. MUSIC IS READING Music participation provides a unique opportunity for literacy preparation. Whether the children are singing, playing or listening, teachers direct them to listen and hear in new ways which exercises their aural discrimination. Playing instruments and adding movement to the lessons teaches children about sequential learning which is essential in reading comprehension.
MUSIC IS A SOCIAL STUDY Participation in any ensemble, regardless of size, involves close relationships, both musical and non-musical, with others. A large performance organization is almost a microcosm of the adult world these students are about to enter. Officials are elected, both musical and non-musical responsibilities are assigned to each member with the success of the entire organization dependent upon each person meeting their responsibilities. Almost every member will assume a leadership role in some way or another during the school year.
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 heard in the ears and interpreted in the mind.
MOST OF ALL, MUSIC IS ART! It allows a human being to take these individual techniques and use them to create emotion. This is the one quality that science CANNOT duplicate - humanism, feeling, emotion - that which happens to you when you become a part of music.
According to Common Core, a Washington D.C. based research and advocacy organization, several countries, including Canada, who consistently outperform the United States in reading and math skills, require extensive education in the arts as a part of their national educational curriculums.
THIS IS WHY WE TEACH MUSIC Not because you plan to major in music, not because you plan to sing or play all of your life, not so you can relax, or not so you will have fun (although you will find yourself relating to these fine purposes of music) - BUT - so you will be human, will recognize beauty, will be sensitive, will have something personal, will have more compassion, gentleness, love and understanding, and will create more that is good - in short, more life!