High school is one of the most influential parts of anyone’s life. One meets friends there that they will keep for most, if not all, of their life. Subjects learned will carry on throughout the rest of the education of that student and will in one way or another affect a career decision. Life lessons are learned that will eventually be put to the test in the ‘real world.’
Where do music classes fit into this? How can one be included within such a community and have it affect their lives in a positive manner? What can be taken away from these classes?
One of the first things that people must understand about music classes is that there is so much more to learn other than music. Discipline is one of the forerunners of these unspoken lessons. To maintain a professional composure and ethical attitude is a massive expectation for all high school music students. Integrity is also important, as well as honesty. There is not much more important in life than those three characteristics.
Opportunities also abound in high school music classes. For example, leadership positions are almost a necessity to run a successful high school music program. Other than the teacher, who is the obvious person above everything, overseeing what happens and doesn’t happen, there can be a student president, vice president and parent support groups, among dozens of other positions. This is not to say that every successful music program needs 16 student leadership positions, but a few will take your program a long way, not to mention the self-esteem of the students. Take a marching band, for example. There are, in most cases, three drum majors (one of whom is the head drum major), a field commander, and section leaders for each instrument. Without the help of these various positions, the marching band would not run as efficiently as the teacher would expect.
Other opportunities include competitions and adjudications. Most students are falsely led to believe that the point of these festivals is to gain as many trophies as they can and create a competitive rivalry between schools. However, these festivals are more about learning how to perform together as an ensemble and getting judged by an outside source other than the teacher of that ensemble. In most cases, these judges, especially in the more regional festivals, are some of the top professionals in their fields of expertise. To receive free coaching from these high-ranking experts should be something to treasure and hold higher than any trophy an ensemble can earn.
Whenever people say that music classes are not needed in high schools, they should be reminded of the life lessons that are taught within these classes. Leadership cannot be encouraged in English class. There are no lessons in honesty in Math class; numbers do not lie. Lastly, other than plagiarism, integrity is never really an issue in History class. Music classes give students a chance to learn these things in a safe environment conducive to practicing and learning from mistakes before entering what adults call the ‘real world.’