David Neves, writing to The Valley Breeze in Rhode Island:
It is important to note that music, and the other arts, are the academic subjects that people, and children in particular, are currently turning to in droves to ease the stress, find comfort, and express their feelings during this challenging time of self-quarantine and distance learning. A stroll through countless social media posts demonstrates clearly the central need for the arts to add enlightenment, meaning, joy, and beauty to everyday lives. Imagine a world without them. Imagine our current lives without the beauty and emotional release and connections that music brings to all.
Mr. Neves is addressing the Cumberland School Department’s proposal to eliminate all elementary music instruction, but his words are relevant to all schools and students everywhere. His brief letter is a perfect summation of why every student needs music education, now more than ever.
Eliminating elementary music would be educational malpractice | The Valley Breeze
Bravo! Vail is an organization in Vail, Colorado that offers music lessons to over 200 students throughout the year. When its teachers were forced to move instruction online, they organized virtual recitals to showcase the students’ work:
“Over 700 people from across the country and the world tuned in to one of the eight recitals, and we even had a student give a shout out in Spanish to their grandparents watching from Argentina. Students invited their school teachers and friends, and Bravo staff and donors also tuned in,” said Brooklynn Phillips, director of education and engagement.
A popular topic of conversation recently has been “virtual choirs” and other means of trying to recreate ensemble experiences through technology. While those efforts typically require a great deal of both technical knowledge and time, a virtual recital is a relatively easy way to allow students to share music with each other as well as a wider audience.
Bravo! Vail continues kids’ music education virtually during COVID-19 | VailDaily.com
Most of the talk in music education lately has understandably revolved around moving instruction online. I thought it would be a nice change of pace to share something completely different:
To create music a user wears the headset and can add custom audio samples. Users can push the audio away or pull it toward themselves to create a mix with varied pitch levels, volume, distortion, echo, among other sound qualities. Users can record the mix to a hard drive and save it to a file, which becomes their own 3D audio musical composition conceived and produced in VR.
There’s no doubt that some form of virtual or augmented reality will be the next technological frontier. New tools such as solsticeVR are sure to attract students eager to create their own personal worlds of sound and music.
Virtual composer: Professor creates new musical worlds with solsticeVR | Illinois State University
We have been hearing from some music publishers individually in the past couple weeks, but it was announced today that NAfME and the National Federation of State High School Associations have reached an agreement with Alfred, Barnhouse, Hal Leonard, Warner-Chappell Music, and Warner Entertainment. This will temporarily allow students to record and share performances of copyrighted music, with certain restrictions.
The NFHS’s Dr. James Weaver:
These requirements are designed to allow schools and students to still participate in their music education as well as protect the intellectual property of the music publishers…The permissions afforded by the publishers are temporary in order to get us through the remainder of the school year.
Music Publishers Agree to Allow Educational Use of Copyrighted Music | NFHS
Helen S. Eaton:
We must all prioritize the health and safety of ourselves and our loved ones, and as we practice social distancing and take all necessary measures to stay well and weather this storm, we must also remember our humanity. We must continue to sing and dance, and we must continue to play, for every chord from our pianos and every note from our strings tells the story of our shared connection.
Lately, there has been a great deal of discussion online about virtual choirs and Zoom meetings and the like. I really appreciated reading this short essay, which takes a more holistic view of the sheer necessity of arts education at this time.
Why arts education is crucial in times of crisis | WHYY
When you ask Knox County Schools music teachers why they think a school music program is important, they give surprisingly different answers.
We all know that music enhances math skills and encourages discipline and perseverance.
But foreign languages? Emotional well-being and consideration for others, including taking care of someone else’s possessions? DIY? Not to mention skills also learned in sports, such as coordination, physical confidence and teamwork?
I love this article. Eight music teachers describe why they think music programs are important. The answers are diverse, from “enhancing language skills” to my favorite, “developing the whole person.”
How much does your kid get from music in school? A lot more than you think | knoxnews.com
Being at home, especially during a health crisis, can be stressful, boring and isolating. Online music education programs can enable students to stay in touch with school and collaborate online whether through videos, ear training games, or tools that let them record songs and or practice their music.
As more and more schools announce closings, it will be a challenge to keep students engaged with music in a meaningful way. This is a short article, but it provides some basic ideas for both teachers and parents to consider implementing.
Don’t Forget Music Education Amid Coronavirus Closures | Thrive Global
Music is a critical component to ensuring children with hearing loss reach their full potential and it’s our goal to break down geographic barriers to ensure more families have this opportunity to learn from a premier music education provider like Settlement.
I’m sure children with hearing loss are categorically overlooked by the typical approaches to music education. I’d love to see more inventive partnerships like this that allow music to be taught much more inclusively.
Settlement Music School and Hearing First partner to offer virtual music education class for deaf or hard of hearing children | The Philadelphia Sunday Sun
State Senator Erika Geiss with an exceptionally wise rationale:
“We should be expanding our students’ abilities to think outside the box by teaching them skills that enable them to both better understand themselves and collaborate with others — which is exactly what music and the arts do. The creativity that is innate in music and art education strengthens critical thinking skills and allows for a deeper level of engagement as kids interact with the world around them.”
Bill would require 3 hours of art & music education for K-5 students in Michigan each week | WXYZ
Each year, the Paul Simon Music Fellows Program will partner 20 young music educators across the five boroughs of New York City with veteran teachers, who will provide mentorship and skills training over the course of a school year. Additionally, the program will help bring new “artists-in-residence” to schools across the city for 11 weeks at a time. And Simon will be involved as well, curating appearances from special guest artists who will lead master classes for students.
What a great way to spend $1 million: not on things, but on connections, experiences, and opportunities. Artists-in-residence can be transformative experiences for all involved, but schools rarely have the resources to support a long-term vision. 11 weeks of such a program is exceptional.
Paul Simon Donated $1 Million to Fund a New Music Education Program | Rolling Stone