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Running head: THE PRESERVATION OF MUSIC

The Preservation of Music Tyler J. Goehring The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Running head: THE PRESERVATION OF MUSIC

Introduction: Music has always been a part of my life. Although my first experience playing music was in the fourth grade, I had grown up listening to music from almost every genre because my Mom was always listening to music. My elementary school offered instrumental music lessons once a week, a string orchestra, a band and chorus. At the beginning of the fourth grade, we went to the auditorium and saw a small presentation on musical instruments. The music teacher had a large table set up, full, of all kinds of instruments. At the end, we were given a sheet of paper that had all of the offered instruments and we were told to circle the one we wanted to play, if any, and have our parents sign it and return it to her by the following week. Our school owned all of the beginner instruments that were given to students on a loan for the school year but, playing one of these instruments did not cost anything to the student. This can cause problems for schools that do not have instruments because it is often expensive to rent or buy these beginner instruments. Having these instruments in the school makes access to music easier. Should students fundraise to buy instruments for the school or should students pay to participate in these programs (Slaton, 2012)? In the seventh and eighth grade we did a fundraiser at Christmas time and we used the money towards new strings, maintenance on the instruments or to by a new instrument. The teacher had been doing this long enough that every student could leave their instrument at home and use a school instrument rather than carrying them back and forth. I was interested in my heritage. I was doing a project on my Irish half as a history project and it seemed extremely interesting. I decided to play the violin because it is used frequently in Irish music. I really liked the way the violin sounded and the way it connected with my heritage.

Running head: THE PRESERVATION OF MUSIC

I played the violin until the tenth grade. I really enjoyed playing but, I had lacked confidence in my preforming ability. Once I reached the seventh and eighth grade, we had to audition at the beginning of every semester to be seated. People are seated, in an orchestra, by their playing ability. After the initial audition, every Friday we had challenge days where we would play in front of the entire orchestra to try and out do the person sitting in front of you so you could move up a chair. I always attempted to challenge the person in front of me; however, I lacked confidence in my ability so every time I got up to play I would begin to shake from nervousness. My performance ability improved slightly over this period because I always was attempting to challenge myself. By the ninth grade, I began taking private lessons from a teacher outside of the school program. I learned a lot about the basics and began to solidify my musical knowledge. At the end of ninth grade, I was approached by my orchestra director and asked if I wanted to learn the viola. There were only five violas at the time compared to thirty violins, five cellos and one bass. In a typical String Orchestra, it is like a pyramid, with more celli and basses or low voices than the violas or middle voices with the fewest being the violins or top voice. I decided this was a good way to just experiment and enjoy something new with music. My private instructor was a violist but, she taught violin as well. When I told her I was going to switch completely over to viola, she was excited. Switching instruments made it so I had to learn a lot of the basics again which was extremely helpful because I learned them better which has helped me. She began to challenge me with difficult music. I went back to school after the summer had gone by and I had improved a lot as a musician. When we auditioned for seating I had gotten second chair and I had seated higher than three people who had played since fourth grade. I continued to work hard and by the eleventh grade I was first chair. My senior year I was second chair because the Director combined the Intermediate and the Senior High Orchestras into one. Outside of the

Running head: THE PRESERVATION OF MUSIC

orchestra classroom, I have had the opportunity to play at the PMEA (Pennsylvania Music Educators Association) District orchestra twice and the Region orchestra once. District orchestra is made up of the top students in the district. If you place high enough in you audition, you then move on to Region orchestra which is all of the best people from three districts. If you place high enough her you go on to States which is all of the best students from the state. My senior year, I also had the opportunity to play with the Pittsburgh Symphony in a Side-by-Side program. This program was designed for people who want to play professionally and want to learn what it is like to work with professionals. Students sit next to a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony for the concert after working with one of the Symphonys conductors. My experiences in public music education have changed the way I view music and education. As a participant in this system and as an aspiring music educator, I have a strong opinion that music must remain in school systems. I have seen how it can help students, such as myself, develop excellence in other areas of education. I also believe that string education is just as important as band instrumental education. I have gone to my high school board meetings with the attempts to get a new teacher hired after one of the teachers retired. This research is directed towards those who have an opinion on music education in schools, specifically preserving music programs, and have interest in how string education fits among this age of budget cuts. My research is going to focus on how to maintain music education, why maintaining music in school systems is important, and how string education plays a significant role in music. Literature Review: Music pulls students young students out of the classroom and reduces instructional time for other more core classes. Music takes students focus away from core learning subjects. Music is not necessary to achieve proficiency on state standardized tests. Why do we need

Running head: THE PRESERVATION OF MUSIC

music in schools? If they want to play music they can find teachers outside of the school. If they are interested in it, they will seek opportunities outside of the school day. So why should we not cut music? I have personally heard all of these directed towards students and teachers alike by other teachers, guidance counselors, school board officials and even friends. How do you respond to these questions? How can one persons word or reasoning change one everyones mind towards music? Is it possible? It is possible and there are several options. Building a strong, developing music program will help to bring children closer to music by changing the way young students learn. Can learning be active and yet instructive? In my opinion, it must be to keep the focus of students. The mind must be active because curiosity leads to excellent questions that inspire deeper learning. By including children in their own learning, they become excited to try new and learn new things. Music is an excellent subject for this. Small groups or quartets make it easy for teachers to work with students one-on-one and explore the music making process from the very beginning. Working with a group like this allows teachers to help shape the music but, it also allows students to put in their input on musicality elements. Balance of the high and low voices, dynamics and interpretation are just a few of the elements that make great music. Once the foundation has been laid, students can decide how to create and make the music their own. I got to participate in a group like this while I was in High School. My private lesson teacher and another teacher from the area worked together with a group of string students. Lyric Strings, as the group was named, became one of the ways I became involved with my own learning. Groups like these are excellent places for future educators to work and learn. Not only do they get to participate in conversation over the music but, their knowledge begins to develop. The number of string educators has been in a steady decline while the number of string positions is rising. This

Running head: THE PRESERVATION OF MUSIC

leads to a gap in the education of students for the teachers that are brought in are not often interested or know much about these instruments and have a hard time engaging the students (Russel, 2008). It is many of the students that get these opportunities that go on and continue music and record soundtracks for movies, TV shows or preform with major symphonies. When students become involved, they often bring their parents into their learning. Watching a child master something that has challenged them for some time makes parents feel confident that their child is learning. When parents watch this process and understand the benefits, many will defend the subject (Feldstein, 2006). The flow of music preservation begins with the educators and spreads to the children, who chose to learn instruments, and it spreads again to the family members of the children (American String Teacher Association, 2010). Parents are influence by their childs likes and dislikes. I have seen many parents attend sporting events or concerts simply because their child was in the event and not because they enjoyed the sport or music. Parents enjoy watching their child grow; however, parents become frustrated when something hinders their childs learning. Before you start the music program, a starting age must be set. This is a critical step. If you start children too early, they can become frustrated because they cannot physically do something on the instrument. If children start late, they can feel defeated by children their age playing at a far higher level. Early or late starting ages can led to children quitting early and not continuing music. The retention of students in music after their first year is important in creating a growing music program. The performance ability of students beginning at a variety of ages shows that children who start strings in the fourth grade out preform students who start in the sixth grade (Hartley& Porter, 2009). This may be because the students who have played longer are not confined to just physically playing the instrument but, they are also connected with the sound they are producing. There are exceptions to this but, they must be active in their learning.

Running head: THE PRESERVATION OF MUSIC

If there is no program, it is very hard for students to become active in learning music. Advocating for music is the only way to prevent budget cuts. Although many believe that the idea of keeping music or the history of the program will save it, it often does not. It experiences cuts before people realize and before people can rally to prevent the major cuts. Advocacy groups are key to preventing budget cuts. These groups should include music educators but, they must include parents and past students. This is crucial for these are the people who are connected to the program for a purpose other than a job (Benham, 2011). When my high school director retired, the administration was not replacing him. We all feared this would cause the decline of our strong orchestra. The administration decided to move the intermediate, ninth and tenth grades, director to teach at the senior high, the juniors and seniors, as well. Had our school rallied sooner than the meeting when they were discussing his post, we might have had more of an impact and gotten a new teacher hired rather than stretching one director between two schools and over two orchestras, two bands and the marching band. Entering the Conversation: The process of advocation has saved many programs across the country and prevented major cuts that could destroy a program (Benham, 2011). However, the way advocation is presented to the public has led to some misleading assumptions. Advocacy for music programs normally only occurs when some cut is proposed or a teacher is retiring who will not be replaced. This panic to save programs has caused many to believe that advocacy is only used to save a program and that many have just disappeared. The media has recently spoken about the disappearance of music from schools rather than the successes or the existence of programs across the country. The way music is being advocated for has caused a misconception by allowing the public to believe that music education is

Running head: THE PRESERVATION OF MUSIC

dwindling because of strict use of terms such as budget cuts rather than more positive terms thus causing people to believe the worst. Dialogic exchanges between administrators and educators toward the public will help to the public to see what makes music important. This will make it easier to preserve many more programs (Richerme, 2012). Music advocacy needs to begin before the cuts are proposed in order to be successful otherwise people are fighting a tide as it has already hit them. The history or accomplishments are not enough to prevent cuts. This is why advocacy must being immediately to produce and maintain good programs. Many extracurricular activities help to show that programs are thriving. Musicals that have choral students and have a student pit orchestra is a great way to involve the community and featuring the best students. The marching band gets a lot of special attention during football games and recognition from the community. Groups such as Jazz band or small quartets are great at featuring students and their accomplishments. The Butler County Symphony did small events every Wednesday during the summer that featured either a student or a community musician that was free to the public. At one of their concerts, they recognized a few students from each of the schools who were outstanding musicians. These events or activities are really inspirational to young students but, they also help to show the community that music is thriving. This gives the community an opportunity to participate in the world of music and it helps to build and maintain strong music programs. Music is not necessary to achieve proficiency on state standardized tests. Music takes students focus away from core learning subjects. These are a few of many excuses people use to justify cutting music budgets or removing the entire program. Music needs to be seen as a dynamic subject that may experience budget cuts but, the program will continue and it will teach students music. Playing an instrument opens children to the idea of learning. It makes it easier to teach them new ideas and topics. Incorporating music into education can create a more holistic

Running head: THE PRESERVATION OF MUSIC

approach that makes learning more than a sum of its parts. Rather than learning history to learn history, you can apply it to music. Learning about a compositional period can tell you why music developed that way because of the events that were occurring (Brown, 2008). When people are interested in a subject, it makes it easier for them to learn. When you can that apply that one subject to a variety of others, it makes it much easier to learn that subject because you are interested in it. Musics fundamental nature makes it a holistic subject. You cannot have a piece of beautiful music without intonation, rhythm, balance, theory, dynamics and more. Music is one of the few subjects that are actually approached in this manner. Students learn rhythm, dynamics and intonation. They then learn how to incorporate these into the music and how balance and the theory build the music. When you change any of these you can get a new style of music. Once students are captured by their first performance, it makes them want to continue to learn the new styles and new pieces of music. Budget cuts in the Music programs affect other aspects of education which are often unseen. When a music class or teacher, that had a large number of students, is cut, the students must be place somewhere else. At my Senior High School there were about thirty students in the orchestra and at the Intermediate High School there were about forty students. The band at each school has about twenty more students than the orchestra. If music was cut, where would these students get placed? They will end up in other classes. This then raises the demands of those classes and teachers and adds stress. So although a part of the budget was removed, now you have to compete to find room for those students in classrooms (Benham, n.d.). Large class numbers makes it harder for students to get individualized attention. This creates a problem for the teacher because they must attempt to get all of the information to all of the students. It also creates problems for students because there is no longer recognition of individualized problems or personal feedback. These factors led to a subpar education for the students. The percent to

Running head: THE PRESERVATION OF MUSIC

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student that pass state standardized testing will fall. This will result in the need to hire more teachers to help these students achieve proficiency. Schools, by attempting to cut music, raise the stress on other teachers causing a need for additional teachers to teach the classes. The addition of teachers or renegotiation of contracts will often be more expensive that the music program. This is reverse economics (Benham, n.d.). How many schools consider this when looking to cut programs? Will this make an impact on preserving music in public education? So What? Why music? Music is necessary because it can provide a more holistic approach to the world of education. This could help to engage children with this interest. This could aid their learning and the retention of knowledge that is tested in state standardized tests. Education should not be a regurgitation of information for the test but, rather information that stays with the student and is useful. In order to sustain the music, we must encourage the growth of professional skills that music teaches. These professional skills are any skills that can translate into careers such as confidence and a sense of self. These are unlike the life skills like math or reading that are important so that people can do them whenever they need them (Wood, 2012). Specifically, independence is taught through music because each persons sound, instrumental or voice, affects the whole. They must be able to be independent of other sections to stay together as a section and have a blending sound within the whole. Although independence is just one of many professional skills, these are skills that are learned through music and can easily be transferred into life. So what? So we keep music in public education. Now what? This connection with music gives students, specifically in freshman classes of college, a link to other students with the same

Running head: THE PRESERVATION OF MUSIC

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interests. Many students in college continue their love of music by playing in an orchestra. By this point, the unifying factor in this environment is the love of music and not the need to take an elective (Goehring, 2013). This makes the transition into college life easier by being able to meet more people who are like you and have a common interest. In order to continue to efficiently advocate for music, there is some future research that must occur. Research needs to be done into whether students who learn subjects holistically score better on standardized tests or remember the information longer than students who do not? This is a specifically important topic because it can help education in all areas improve and work on tying all subjects together to make it easier to learn. The topic of reverse economics is extremely powerful for advocation purposes. Further research should be done on this topic to see if when Music is cut entirely, do new teachers get hired to teach the students or do class sizes rise? This could then be compared with how large student to teacher ratio students do on standardized tests compared to low student to teacher ratio students in core classes.

Running head: THE PRESERVATION OF MUSIC

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REFERENCE LIST American String Teacher Association. (2010). The future of strings: a green paper prepared for americans for the arts. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from the American String Teacher Association web page: http://www.astaweb.com/App_Themes/Public/Uploads/PDF/AmericanStringTeac hersAssociation_GreenPaper.pdf Benham, J. (n.d.). Defending music programs with economic analysis. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from: http://www.cmebc.org/resources/defending Benham, J. (2011). Music advocacy : Moving from survival to vision. Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield Education. Brown, R. (2008). The value of music education in public schools. [Youtube video]. Retrieved October 1, 2013, from website: http://www.make-music-better.com/musiceducation-resources.html#I Feldstein, S. (2006). How can music educators save their music programs from budget cuts? Retrieved October 1, 2013, from website: http://www.artistshousemusic.org/videos/how+can+music+educators+save+their+ music+programs+from+budget+cuts Goehring, T. (2013). How is an orchestra a figured world: an observation [Word document]. Retrieved from: https://moodle2.uncc.edu/course/view.php?id=17621 Hartley, L., & Porter, A. (2009). The influence of beginning instructional grade on string student enrollment, retention, and music performance. Journal of Research in Music Education, 56(4), 370-384. Retrieved September 28, 2013, from JSTOR database: http://www.jstor.org.librarylink.uncc.edu/stable/40204940 Slaton, E. (2012). Collegiate connections: music education budget crisis. Music Educators Journal, 99(1), 33-35. Retrieved October 3, 2013, from SAGE database: http://mej.sagepub.com/content/99/1/33.full.pdf+html Richerme, L. (2011). Apparently, we disappeared. Music Educators Journal, 98(1), 35-40. Retrieved September 29, 2013, from SAGE database: http://mej.sagepub.com/content/98/1/35.full.pdf+html Russel, J. (2008). A discriminant analysis of the factors associated with the career plans of string music educators. Journal of Research in Music Education, 56(3), 204-219. Retrieved September 29, 2013, from JSTOR database: http://www.jstor.org.librarylink.uncc.edu/stable/40204927 Wood, M. (2012). Music to our ears. USA Today Magazine, 141(2808), 2, 34-35.