Monday, April 22, 2013

"Cut the budget"....send out the pink slips to the music teachers! The philistines are in charge of the hen house

Of course, the philistines on the school boards, most of them with 'tin ears' will cut music....it does not profit anyone in the pursuit of a job! And, after all, that is the sole reason for the existence of the public school system, to produce graduates who can and do find work!
Notice, too, how supportive the corporate class is of programs in sports for kids....Canadian Tire and Hyundai both have programs to help disadvantaged kids play hockey....as does Scotiabank, Esso, RBC, and many others.
Have you noticed a comparable Canadian corporation forking over truckloads of cash for music programs, for the purchase of musical instruments for use in schools, for the acquisition of music lessons, for the formation of school choirs, bands, orchestras?
Have you also notices the stampede of corporate dollars to underwrite the former "Kiwanis" Music Festivals, of which there were some 90+ within in the last couple of years? No!
And that's because they believe that there is no "payback" for such sponsorship.
The public, generative of the philistines on the school boards, also of the 'tin ears', are not interested in the cultural development, preservation, enhancement that results from the inclusion, not as tokenism, but as an integral component in the curriculum for every student, of music, both instrumental and vocal....and of course, they each complement the other.
There are pendulum swings in the culture, and right now we are living in the vortex of a hurricane of math and science obsessions from legislators, parents, employers and eventually students. The digital age is also the algorithm age, and algorithms are more likely to be encountered in calculus classes, for which math and science are usually prerequisites.
And, graduating from high school without completing the required number of math and science courses would be like travelling to Rome without visiting the Vatican and the Colisseum.
Music, the sound and ryhthm of the human soul, the human heart and the human spirit, also beats throughout the natural world, among the insects, the birds, and the vertabrates....as it beats through the deciduous leaves and the needles of the coniferous with the help of the wind. It also beats on the shores of every body of water, soothing and calming the human angst. Music brings exiled musicians together to form orchestras, "simply to stop the Third Reich from destroying music"....as we witnessed on the PBS documentary yesterday.
Music gives voice to the manuscripts of many of the most creative and expressive composers in history, revisited every generation, if not more frequently...and in the process opens the eyes, ears, minds and spirits of all those honoured with the privilege of performing those scores, especially for their peers. After all, music is a performing art, transcending the Babel of languages, the cacophony of religions, the piercing dissonance of opposing ideologies, and the beginning and endings of centuries....never too old to be revisited, reinterpreted, and re-performed, so long as there are human hearts longing for its comfort, its challenge and its inspiration.
Our school system is analogous to a train on a run-away gallop down a mountain, out of control, without an engineer or a station master to monitor and direct its passage....and our children are the victims of our disinterest, dispassion and detachment....and the atrophy of the music component in the curriculum is merely one sign of the derailment of the system....
However, once again, there will be no public outcry...because to do so would render one a 'snob' in the eyes of the public whose degree of both conformity and compliance with whatever is "decided" is both mind and spirit deadening!

Fewer music teachers in Ontario schools, report finds

People for Education survey of Ontario schools says less than half of Ontario schools have a music teacher.
By Kristin Rushowy, Toronto Star, April 22 2013

Less than half of Ontario schools have a music teacher, says a new report by People for Education.
The advocacy and research group surveyed more than 1,000 schools across the province and found that just 44 per cent have a music teacher.
It also found that one in three schools has neither a specialist teacher nor access to what is called an “itinerant,” a musician who travels from school to school teaching students or training staff for the complex music curriculum. That person may or may not be a certified teacher.
Just last week, the Toronto District School Board issued notices to 24 itinerants that they may be laid off in the fall. The hours of some 83 others could also be reduced because of budget cuts.
The potential cuts drew the attention of some high-profile musicians like Canadians Anne Murray and k.d. lang, and in the U.S., former Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum.
The instructors have also started an online petition.
If the job cuts go ahead, recorder, vocal music and Orff instrumental programs at elementary schools would be at risk.
Cuts to the class time of others would affect strings, band and steel pan.
Staff proposed the music cuts to help battle the board’s $27-million deficit — strings instructor David Spek estimates they might save $2 million.
Under the provincial curriculum, elementary teachers must cover some form of instrumental music between grades 5 and 8. As it’s difficult to teach the recorder or read music without training, the board hires the 24 musicians to coach teachers side-by-side in class over two years as a form of “staff development.”
People for Education, which released their report at Dewson Public School in Toronto, also found that principals in both elementary and secondary schools charge students fees for visual and music courses.
Students living in wealthier areas — where parents fundraise more money — “are much more likely to have the opportunity to participate in a band, choir and orchestra,” the report says.

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