Friday, June 11, 2010

On Music Education in Detroit

Here are some excerpts from short essays written by students of Marc Haas, an orchestra teacher at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, whose teaching position terminates in August as the result of recent budget cuts in the Detroit schools:

Aspiring high school jazz musicians performing in Detroit
"Why I Play Music"

"Music should be in all schools, because some people do not have the freedom to express themselves. Sometimes all a child needs is to express themselves to be accepted in this world."

"Where I live is rough in the heart of the eastside there is no right path. So instead of selling drugs I practice and I practice hard whenever I'm frustrated and I feels I can't function through everyday life I play some music and my troubles melt away… I truly never thought that I would become this good at the cello…my parents love to hear me play now when at first I had to stay upstairs to play (now) they make me play for family and friends and everyone is amazed by my skill and how much I progressed. The point is that I can do anything regardless of my position. You can do it no matter what the odds because most people don't really know what it's like for me what I do when I leave Cass but I don't let it I interfere with my love for music."

"Music teaches me discipline. Music helps me establish a work ethic. Music isn't easy. It takes patience, hard work and dedication."

"Music is my way of communicating what it is that my mouth finds too hard to speak. With every aria I am able to release my inner passions. With every minuette, I am free to dance into a stupor. With every concerto I am able to let go of my anger. And with every overture I am able to overcome any and all obstacles. So when people ask why (she) plays music, she laughs and answers, 'So I can dream'."

"Music is a necessity to my life, it keeps me pushing to do better, and when you have to do that with even just one aspect of your life, it forces you to do the same with every other aspect. Why do I play music? I need to. I have to. Music is not an option."

"My parents don't tell me that they are proud of me a lot but when I play my cello for them and see the smile on their faces I know that they are proud of me for achieving something and learning how to play such a difficult piece of music."

"The people I've made memories with will be with me forever. Music brought all of us together to form this small family that has become one of the only reasons I still enjoy coming to school."
I commend Prof George Shirley's article and appeal linked below to everyone interested in music and the arts...

Source: Shirley, G (2010, June 9), Music Education in Detroit's Public Schools: The Struggle to Survive, New Music Box.


Taylor Marsh said...

This is why "Glee" is so popular. I can so relate to this essay. As a former Broadway performer, it was my reason for living for a long time.

Dr William J McKibbin said...

Hi Taylor, thanks for your comment -- music and the arts is where so many of us originally learned to express our humanity...

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