Over the weekend, the Chicago Tribune published an article describing how applications to enroll in music programs are on the rise throughout the region.
Applications are soaring at music schools across the country, often mirroring the overall rise in college enrollment but in many cases surpassing the interest in other disciplines. Never mind that the chances of landing a paying job in a decent-size symphony orchestra have diminished, with many ensembles going out of business in recent years. Never mind that jazz clubs are becoming an endangered species.
I find this news exciting for many reasons. First, it means that classical music and jazz is far from dead. There is clearly an interest to study music, which hopefully means new ideas that push the boundaries will emerge. Although the article suggests the “grim” realities for musicians, the fact is that studying music (and other arts) teaches a discipline and develops skills that other disciplines simply ignore. I was especially encourage by the following quote:
Music deans say their students’ success in getting accepted into business, law and medical schools, among others, owes specifically to the skills the students develop in music school.
As far back as I can remember, music educators have repeatedly the importance and significance music has on children. Perhaps this is the proof needed to get our point across: music (and the arts) should be a part of children’s curriculum. I know from personal experience there are certain skills that I honed only through playing an instrument.
I hope non-music educators will pay attention and recognize there is an interest, there is a purpose, and as the topic of education has now entered the political spotlight that the arts will not dismissed so easily. Yes, there are rudiments that are necessary, but we have to encourage creativity as much as any other subject.