|Posted on March 23, 2011 at 3:41 PM|
The good folks at Edutopia recently posted this YouTube video profiling the music curriculum at Bay Shore Public Schools in Long Island, New York. Here, in a five minute encapsulation, is an example of an excellent public school that has added a crucial missing element to the curriculum - music composition and creativity.
Bay Shore's High School band director is not just a band director - he is a music teacher. His multi-media course uses technology as a tool to unleash student creativity. Mastering the technology itself is not the end product, musical creativity is. Students in this class learn how to create pre-professional works in digital media, including music and video. There is still a high-achieving high school band program working for performance excellence - the traditional methods have not been abandoned. However, from elementary school onward, student creativity in music is part of the curriculum.
It's time for more American music programs to start re-evaluating their relevance to students in the bigger picture of how music fits into their life after high school. Much of who I am today as an adult is because of my experiences as a clarinetist in my high school band. Those ensembles need to exist, but there needs to be room in a secondary curriculum for students without years of instrumental training to have access to music making. A music technology course is that gateway.
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