Essay 4

Robert Schwartz

Composition 2

Dr. J. Mulliken

17 November 2014

How Can American Society Come to Appreciate Classical Music?

The world of classical music seems to be falling apart at the seams. The economy can be to blame, but to find the real cause we must look deeper than that. Across the globe, no one country’s classical music economy is hurting worse than that of the United States of America, and the question is why? When America is striving to be the best in all aspects of life, why are the arts and specifically music being overshadowed in our culture, and how can the American people come to appreciate and even love classical music? Through my research this year, and my lifetime of participation in music while living in this under appreciative culture, I believe I have found a way that could truly change this society. The underlining key to appreciating classical music is to educate the general public (especially the generation that is still in school). This does not mean everyone must learn to play an instrument or sing, but I believe that educating people is the first and most important step to creating a society that will appreciate classical music and all the arts.

When dealing with educating the public, the first thing people are bound to ask is, “Why does this even matter?” It is a fair question and one worth explaining. Many people believe playing music is just a hobby and do not think that there is any value in learning to play music or learning about it. However, it has scientifically been proven time and time again that music helps with the development of children and even adults. Most likely one has heard about the “Mozart Effect,” and how listening to Mozart or any classical music can help in the development of children even when they are in the womb. Music plays a vital role in child development. In a particular research experiment to prove that classical music enhances child development, two kindergarten classes with the same curriculum were chosen; the experimental group had classes with the music of W.A. Mozart in the curriculum, while the control group did not. Here is a chart with the results.

Table 1. Estimated Marginal Means

Exp Group     Control Group         Total

Domain     sex       Mean     SD     mean     SD     mean     SD

Social     male     79.896   2.727   61.313   2.970   70.605   1.987

female   80.805   3.725   55.238   3.260   68.021   2.433

total     80.350   2.342   58.275   2.240   69.313   1.560

Cognitive male     111.787   3.504   75.787   3.675   93.787   2.397

female   107.414   4.538   70.043   4.106   88.728   2.941

total   109.600   2.976   72.915   2.894   91.258   1.880

Physical   male     80.640   1.869   68.295   2.032   74.467   1.380

female   72.148   2.548   60.377   2.234   66.262   1.697

total     76.394   1.578   64.336   1.511   70.365   1.074

This table shows that those who listened to Mozart and had music integrated in their curriculum scored better on social, cognitive and physical levels. “Music enhances the social development of kindergarten children as it engenders calmness and relaxation, thus reducing impulsiveness. Music also helps them to listen to others and communicate more effectively, leading to an improvement in empathy, and the development of enhanced social skills” (Mattar). This is one of countless studies done proving that music is a crucial developmental tool that should be used in schools to help children develop into tomorrow’s leaders.

There are also those who are educators or are so focused on getting the United States on top in math and sciences that they believe all other fields of study are less important and therefore should be cut from schools. Although their thoughts are good in nature, in reality, a loss of music programs in schools would be detrimental to the nation’s education system. In fact, a recent study shows, “students of low socioeconomic statuses who participate in the arts have better social and academic outcomes than those who do not participate in arts instruction” (Doyle). When the American society becomes so dead set on getting to the top in the “important” subjects, we sometimes think the best approach is to cut everything else out of the picture. In theory it sounds accurate, but the well roundedness of someone who is cultured in the arts cannot be replaced. Leon Mones, a published music author writes, “Western culture may become to strictly a pattern of scientific research, technological implementation, expert social control, streamlining of domestic conveniences… all of which are fine and desirable, but devoid of those artistic experiences that add a sense of permanence and value to the structure of our personality and our society” (Mones). In some of our weakest educational systems in America, those consistently making it to the top of their class and going on to do great things have spent time studying the arts in some way, shape, or form. This certainly can be applied to those in higher income school systems as well. Not only does music help with development and education, it can also be a student’s oasis from the roughness of everyday life.

Besides the importance of music on human development and the links it has to success in other subjects, music is important in the growth of an individual’s emotions and soul. It is important for youth to develop an imagination and express it while in their developmental years. Too often students get run down and are pushed until they break. Music and other arts can be an outlet for them; something for them to do for fun and that allows them to grow as a person and a scholar all at the same time. Music programs are imperative to keep available to students in schools across this country and the world. “In general, because of strong links to emotion, music in the classroom can promote a positive environment that enhances children’s development.” (Mattar). Music needs to be a part of curriculum in schools and a part of everyday life. It is too valuable to one’s emotional needs to be neglected. With all of this data on why music is beneficial for people and the popularity of classical music in other countries, it is hard to see why there is such an absence of interest from the American culture.

After we as a society have dealt with the question of why it is important to have music in our society, the next logical question to answer is, “why is there a lack of interest in classical music?” The United States of America, more so than any other major country, has a lack of desire to integrate the arts into the education system and into the culture of everyday life. The American culture has had its fair share of great moments in music, such as the creation of jazz, but still lacks true foundation in classical music. In the book Classical Music in America, the author Joseph Horowitz states that America’s culture, “has produced many fine artists and striking moments—but no institutional or intellectual support to sustain them” (Horowitz). This quote really hits the problem head on. Lack of classical music in the American culture does not exist because of a lack in ability to create great musicians or great orchestras. World famous musicians are consistently being developed in the United States, and several orchestras, such as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, are considered to be some of the best in the world. Even when that is true, American society still lacks interest, and it always has. One thought I have on why the United States is behind in musical culture is due to the fact that it never was established at the creation of the nation. If you have ever been in music history courses, composers and music in America do not get mentioned until the 20th century. I believe that is due to how hard of a life the “New World” once was. When settlers first came to America, the goal was to survive and that was narrowly achieved. There was no room for music. Even as the nation was taking its first steps towards independence and becoming a free country, the focus was to survive and grow. Then we wanted to become a world power. All of this was great and has served our country well, but there is still no denying the void of music and the repercussions it has positioned our society in today. So while we were fighting to survive and fighting to grow into a world power, other nations were not in a music void; they were developing classical and folk music. The powerful names of Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms were taking control of social society and people were enthralled by music. I believe this is a step that America has missed; we have not developed a society that loves and lives for the arts, and we certainly still feel these issues today.

On top of the general public being uninterested and uninvolved with classical music, another problem that must be faced is the fact that certain demographics do not even have practical potential to be involved in such activities. In a research article published by Kenneth Elpus and Carlos Abril, they give a wide array of findings about demographics of high school students involved in music programs. They have some findings such as sixty-one percent of music students were female. This sort of statistic is not worrisome; the ones that are deal more with the extremes. A few examples of these extremes would be the statistics on race; they found that 65.7% of all students were white followed by a huge drop off to 15.2%, which represents the percentage of African Americans that are participating in music. Statistics like these are a cause for deep concern. To get the United States as a whole to participate and appreciate music, we must make it more readily available for all. This includes more than just demographics on race. It was stated in the research that big discrepancies are found depending on where students live and go to school. 51.2% of music students go to suburban schools, while 27.6% attend urban schools and 21.3% are rural. It is a real disappointment to know that students may not have the opportunity to shine and reach their full potential because of where they live. I know of some absolutely wonderful musicians and educators who have changed the face of music and they grew up on farms. It is hard to believe what they would be doing now if they had not been involved in music just because of where they lived. Of course it is impractical to say it can be even across the board, but all students should have the ability to learn this great art. This is one of the essential points to look at when thinking about how to change music in the American culture.

When discussing how to change society to appreciate the arts and especially music, I believe that people must look at two areas to start making a change. The two areas that need to be targeted are the youngest generation, and the areas that, at the moment, have very limited if any resources for music and art education programs. The youngest generation is such a crucial part of developing societal change. We need to immerse them in music if real change is going to happen. If the youngest generation is not interested in something, then how can change be expected to last as they get older and have their own kids? The nice thing is that kids are eager to learn anything and everything, and music can be an absolute blast for students of all ages. So the reason that there is a lack of interest has to do with a lack of participation and knowledge. If you do not grow up doing certain activities, chances are you will not ever have knowledge of interest in those activities. If students were taught the academia fields of music such as theory and history and had the opportunity to play and perform in bands, choirs, and orchestras, they at the least would have more respect for music and they would likely even enjoy it. Not to mention they would benefit from all the before mentioned benefits of being involved in music. An analogy that comes to mind if that of soccer vs. football. Even though soccer is the most popular sport in the world, why do more Americans prefer football? This is due to the American culture. If you ignored our culture and decided to play and watch soccer as a child, most certainly you would like it and surround yourself with the sport. This is true of any activity and can be easily applied to the appreciation of classical music. Music can easily become a passion and desire of today’s youngest generation if we simply immerse them in it, and when they get involved with different music programs, the value of music on each individual’s development will be obvious.

The second demographic that needs the immediate attention of all music advocates would be the areas across the United States that continue to have the lowest amount of funding for music programs or no funding/program at all. All children deserve the opportunity to grow and develop into their full potential and music can help them reach it. The sooner the general public knows the importance of music and the lack of music programs across the country, the ball should start rolling to get this country moving in the right direction. These truly affected areas are mostly found in the inner city schools or any school in a low-income area. According to a study done on demographics of music students and programs, “Students in the lowest quartile were significantly under-represented in the music student population, while those in the highest socioeconomic quartile were significantly overrepresented among music students. The odds ratio indicated that music students were 1.71 times more likely to be in the highest SES quartile than they were to be in the lowest SES quartile” (Elpus and Abril). Most of the time people either see too many problems with the school system in the inner city that they choose not to help. Another tactic used is the extreme focus on the core subjects. However, a more affective idea is to fund music and arts. It keeps the students engaged, and allows them to have fun. In return they find themselves enjoying school more and getting better grades. They also join extra curricular programs instead of getting wrapped up in gang culture. Music can truly save lives and sadly it is not found where it may be needed most. However, even with all this being true, “students of color and those of low SES are strikingly underrepresented in elective music classes; many students in urban areas may not even have access to high-quality music programs because of social, economic, and political issues in their local areas” (Doyle). Music is crucial to our society but sadly few see the importance. It is important that all see this importance and those those who do not already have music programs start to create them. Then, with more information being thrown to the general public and the benefits of music being proven through research hopefully places, especially those in low income areas, will get music entwined in their culture and reap the benefits of doing so.

It is easy to see that music and the arts are very important. The results show why music is important; such as the way it helps people develop as human beings. Yet, with the benefits, there is a severe lack of interest in classical music that continues to grow. The lack of interest has been a long fought fight for advocates of classical music. This fight must continue to be had by all music lovers. It is our job to inform people and spread this wonderful art form that has been a staple in societies since ancient Greece. Through the youngest generation, we can start to change society and help classical music get a long overdue firm foundation in this already great American culture.

Works Cited

Doyle, Jennifer Lee. “Cultural Relevance In Urban Music Education: A Synthesis Of The             Literature.” Update: Applications Of Research In Music Education 32.2 (2014): 44-51.            ERIC. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

Elpus, Kenneth, and Carlos R. Abril. “High School Music Ensemble Students In The United         States: A Demographic Profile.” Journal Of Research In Music Education 59.2 (2011):             128-145. Professional Development Collection. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.

Horowitz, Joseph. Classical Music in America: A History. New York: W. W. Norton, 2007.         Print.

Mattar, Jehan. “The Effect Of Mozart’s Music On Child Development In A Jordanian     Kindergarten.” Education 133.3 (2013): 370-377. ERIC. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

Mones, Leon. “Music And Education In Our American Democracy.” Music Educators Journal    100.2 (2013): 74-78. ERIC. Web. 19 Oct. 2014.

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Essay 3

Robert Schwartz

Dr. Mulliken

Composition 2

10/27/2014

Reflections on Research

Starting with a simple idea, my research the past few weeks has enabled me to gain wisdom about music appreciation and education. My first idea was simple and broad, something to do with American societies lack of interest in classical music. It was the start to a blossoming flower of knowledge that has led me to my research question. How can American society come to appreciate classical music? It has also led me down the road to discovering that education is where the societal perceptions of classical music can really be changed.

In the first week of research, I remember not having much research at the start other than the general idea about music and its ties, or lack there of, to American society. This original thought is close to my heart due to the fact I want to be a professional musician at the same time that orchestras across the country are going bankrupt and music programs in schools are being cut. It is a scary world for an aspiring young musician like myself, and I feel like it is my duty to become more informed and to use my knowledge from this research project to change at least one person’s view of classical music. Every person counts and everyone deserves to understand the beauty of classical music.

When looking for sources, I quickly discovered the database ERIC, which is based on education. My original plan was to make a section of my paper about education, but I found so many good articles in this education database that I have decided to make the majority of my article about music education. Through my sources I have a newfound belief that to truly make a change in society we must start young, with students who are still building there belief systems and world views. It is important to teach about music, without teaching the subject; there will be no respect for it. A great example of this would be soccer, similar to classical music, it is popular all around the globe, but has yet to set a firm foundation in America. If you ask an American teenager if they like football, chances are they will say yes, this is due to them growing up around the sport and being accustomed to it. However, soccer is different, if you ask the same student if they like soccer, chances are higher that they will say no unless they grew up watching and playing the game. This holds true for classical music as well, how can you appreciate something without knowledge of it? Well, the fact is you can’t, and it is the job of all musicians to educate today’s youth and get them interested music and the music making process.

This research project had helped me define my research question, and route the direction of my paper. This project has strengthened my belief that education is key! I have a strong passion for teaching, I have since I was very young, and this project has reinforced all the good feelings I have about teaching even when the school’s programs are not great, and my field of study seems to be going out of fashion. In many ways those daunting facts encourage me each and everyday to become the best teacher I can so that I can do my part and more so in keeping music alive in America.

Annotated Bibliography

How can American Society come to Appreciate Classical Music?

Robert G. Schwartz IV

Oklahoma State University

My research question is how can American society come to appreciate classical music? Through my research my once broad idea has started to take shape. I have found a lot of great articles mostly in the database ERIC and am planning on really hitting my research question head on using education as my catalyst. My research in music appreciation seams to always lead to education. This is because I believe you cannot appreciate something without knowledge of it first. I also believe that my peers and generations older than mine do not make change. We start it, but with out youth involvement, it will never stick for younger generations. Students are the key to society making changes of any kind and this is no different when it comes to music. The challenge is, most people who enjoy classical music are of older generations. It is time for classical music to spread like wild fire in the hearts of the youth and this can only happen with proper education in an education system that needs to make changes in order for that to happen.

The goal of my paper is to first discuss the importance of music, with out showing reasons why it matters no one will listen or care about what any music advocate has to say. Secondly, I will discuss the school system and challenges that need to be confronted so music education can really take root. Then I will discuss ways to teach students about music and show them the enjoyment that can come from it. They need to see it as exciting and not boring, if teachers succeed in this, then the music revolution will be well on its way. I may conclude with examples of countries or communities that have integrated music into society and show ways in which it has enriched the lives of those living there.

Collins, Caron L., and Jameson Wells. “Professional Notes: 21St-Century Ensembles—    What We Imagine, We Can Become!.” Music Educators Journal 100.4 (2014): 18-21. Professional Development Collection. Web. 19 Oct. 2014.

“Professional Notes: 21St-Century Ensembles—What We Imagine, We Can Become!” Is a scholarly journal article from the Music Educators Journal. The article is intended for Music Educators in any particular field. The article starts with intro with the authors beliefs, then discusses new ways to teach in ensemble settings, discusses different kind of ensembles and how all should be included. It also discusses how to get personal expression through ensembles, and talks about community ensembles that involve more than just students. The author argues that when teachers are focusing only on performance they are limiting their students from gaining an individualized sense of musicality. The author then gives different modern approaches to allowing students to learn fully and gain individual musical skills and passions. For example, under the section ensembles for expression she discusses two band programs and their respected teachers who avoid a teacher centered classroom because it limits the creativity of the student. For these teachers it goes beyond teaching a piece and becomes more about helping students connect to music and find a passion rather than just play notes. The whole article starts off with a quote from John Philip Sousa who is one of the most important American musicians/composers ever. “I have always believed that 98 percent of a students progress is due to his own efforts, and 2 percent of his teachers” (Collins, and Wells). This belief is validated throughout this article. This article will give me several great examples of contemporary classrooms getting great results in the music education field and I can express how these successes will lead to more passionate music lovers in the generations to come!

Doyle, Jennifer Lee. “Cultural Relevance In Urban Music Education: A Synthesis Of The             Literature.” Update: Applications Of Research In Music Education 32.2 (2014): 44-51.            ERIC. Web. 19 Oct. 2014.

“Cultural Relevance in Urban Music Education: A Synthesis Of The Literature,” is a scholarly journal article from the Music Educators Journal. The journal is a bimonthly journal with articles written by leaders in the field of Music Education and is intended as a resource for all music educators in the National Association for Music Educators. This article starts off with a brief into, and then discusses education in urban and suburban environments. This dives specifically into urban music education. In particular, the article discusses the relevance of music education, the participation of students, and the demographics of those students. Then it finishes with discussion on the data found in research. The author points out recent research done in urban areas and how participating in music helps students get ahead academically and socially. The author believes that, “Equal access to music education for all students is important because art education is essential for the creation of well-rounded, engaged citizens of the world” (Doyle). The article backs up her beliefs with research done in urban areas, it also provides ideas on how to get more students involved and build better programs. Before coming across this article, I had no knowledge of inner city public school systems or how the music programs were run. I now have a greater understanding of the subject, which will help me with my paper. I will be able to discuss the crucial role of cites and their schools in having America come to appreciate classical music. After all, most concerts are held in cities, if students become interested there are many opportunities for them to enjoy concerts in there own neighborhoods.
Elpus, Kenneth, and Carlos R. Abril. “High School Music Ensemble Students In The United         States: A Demographic Profile.” Journal Of Research In Music Education 59.2 (2011):             128-145. Professional Development Collection. Web. 10 Oct. 2014.

“High School Music Ensemble Students in the United States: A Demographic Profile,” is an article from the Academic Journal, Research of Music Education. The data from the article is for music educators in the United States. The article is organized first by purpose and by research question, then by data and experiment, then results and discussion. The author doesn’t argue a point, but rather he lays out information about demographics of music students across the country for a purely informative view, not to prove a particular viewpoint. The results show that most music programs have primarily white students, also, there are more females than males involved in music. The stats go on and on. In pursuit of his data he points out the quality in the research. Stating information such as the fact that public and private schools were used in both rural and urban areas. The demographic data obtained in this study can be backed up by the quality and broadness of the information gathered. They also used all types of music programs, not just bands but orchestras and choirs as well. This is valuable to my paper because knowledge of who is involved and not involved in music can help in combating a lack of participation by certain groups of people. Before encountering this source I wasn’t sure of what the demographic layout was in music programs, now I know music programs are lacking an evenness of demographics. This will help me because I know there is a target out there that can be reached but has not been reached yet. I will do more research to see how other educators have combated the problem.

Enz, Nicholas J. “Teaching Music To The Non-Major: A Review Of The Literature.” Update:     Applications Of Research In Music Education 32.1 (2013): 34-42. ERIC. Web. 19 Oct.     2014.

“Teaching Music To The Non-Major: A Review Of The Literature,” is an scholarly journal article originally published online via the National Association for Music Educators. The article is organized first with some research questions to ponder as the article is read, then there is background information given in an intro. Then it goes into the importance of studying music and the difference in music majors and non-music majors. It then goes in depth about teaching the class, such as skills needed, curriculum models, and methodologies that are being used. How to keep students engaged, which is an incredibly important section for my specific research question. It goes in depth on certain methodologies, talks about technology, and then summarizes everything into key points. The author does not take any particular stance in the article, but instead he gives information based on other teachers who have knowledge about teaching music appreciation. He discusses what they agree on, such as the primary goal being developing listening skills, and that it is important for personal development, social development, and the preservation of music. He also discusses what they disagree on, such as the content for the course, and the methodology used to teach the course. This article will come in handy for me because I plan on using the knowledge obtained from this article and then talking to my professors who teach intro to music classes and finding there takes on why and how to teach music appreciation. This will go hand and hand with my research project.

Lesniak, Melissa. “El Sistema And American Music Education.” Music Educators Journal 99.2    (2012): 63-66. ERIC. Web. 19 Oct. 2014.

“El Sistema And American Music Education,” is a scholarly journal article from the Music Educators Journal. The article is organized by a brief history, then a description of El Sistema, followed by El Sistema in the United States. The next part of the article discusses realities of orchestra programs in America, realities of funding, teaching practices, and finishes up with takeaways from the article. The author has no position, like most of my articles; he simply lays out useful information for other music educators. The author does state his hopes and takeaway from El Sistema. He says it is not practical to match El Sistema in the United States, but we can learn to provide musical education to anyone regardless of socio-economic circumstances. If this one goal is accomplished, then the author thinks that the media attention that has been brought to El Sistema will have been worthwhile. Before coming across this article, I had knowledge of El Sistema; I actually love to listen to their recordings. The passion they play with is amazing and cannot be compared to anything else in the world. This article and others about El Sistema will prove to be important. This is because the system has been so successful in Venezuela it has changed society and its view on classical music. It is really the only known story in modern times of something of this magnitude occurring. I plan to discuss how our society can learn from them and see that in our own way, it is possible to change society here in America.
McCarthy, Marie. ““We Who Have The Destiny Of Musical America In Our Hands”: History               Speaks To Us Through 100 Years Of MEJ.” Music Educators Journal 100.4 (2014): 29-   38. Professional Development Collection. Web. 19 Oct. 2014.

“We Who Have The Destiny of Musical America In Our Hands,” is a scholarly journal article from the Music Educators Journal. It is intended for band and orchestra conductors that are members of Nafme. The article is structured first by discussing the start up of the association, then talks about building musical America, then talks about changes in music education, the unity of America through music, the enriching of lives through music, and music for all Americans then and now. Just as in many of my articles, the author has no specific agenda for writing the article. McCarthy is simply giving information about the public school systems of the past and possibilities for the future, as well as, the storied history of Nafme, The National Association for Music Educators. This article was written in honor of the one-hundredth year of the Music Educators Journal. One note worthy quote from the author is, “Early leaders writing in the journal sought to nationalize music education and to extend its reach into all communities. One hundred years later, authors continue to reference this fundamental goal, but with an expanded view of the collective that includes marginalized and underserved individuals and groups and multiple generations” (McCarthy). The authors point is to remind those in this coveted field of work that has been done in the past and the work that we will continue to do in the future to make music important in America. Prior to coming across this source, I didn’t have knowledge of the storied history behind the Music Educators Journal. It will help to have viewpoints of where society used to be for my paper.

Mones, Leon. “Music And Education In Our American Democracy.” Music Educators Journal 100.2 (2013): 74-78. ERIC. Web. 19 Oct. 2014.

“Music And Education In Our American Democracy,” is a scholarly journal article from the Music Educators Journal. The article is intended for members of the National Association of Music Education. The article is not organized into several sections, but is really only organized into two main parts. The author also is stating his opinion more than just giving information which is different than most of my sources from the Music Educators Journal. The author first gives information along with his viewpoints, and then in the second section, he gives 12 basic principles that he believes should be the foundation of a music program. The author states, “I do not intend to discuss music as science or as art. I am deeply interested in the functional role of music in Western culture and particularly in the system of public education we have designed to ensure the survival and advancement of Western culture and the people who will live within it” (Mones). The author voices his opinion on why art is important and his fears that society is leading far away from art and neglecting it. He says that, “Western culture may become to strictly a pattern of scientific research, technological implementation, expert social control, streamlining of domestic conveniences… all of which are fine and desirable, but devoid of those artistic experiences that add a sense of permanence and value to the structure of our personality and our society” (Mones). These two quotes really sum up his viewpoints, which I think are important to discuss in my paper about music and society. It should end up being a great resource.

Overland, Corin T. “Integrated Arts Teaching: What Does It Mean For Music Education?.”          Music Educators Journal 100.2 (2013): 31-37. Teacher Reference Center. Web. 10 Oct.          2014.

“Integrated Arts Teaching: What Does It Mean For Music Education?” is an article from a scholarly journal called Music Educators Journal. It is one of the best know music educators journals in print today and tends to offer a lot of great ideas and information. The structure of the article starts with an introduction to what integrated art teaching is. It gives a brief summary with some positives and negatives. It then discusses ways to use this teaching style in your own classroom and all over the school. The article goes on about early successes and the federal view on things. Finally it discusses where music plays a role specifically. The author states that there are two sides to the integrated arts movement, but makes a point of staying neutral. His goal is to give music educators a resource into integrated arts specified for music education. To give us info he sorts it out into sections, giving us past results, expressing the possibilities of working with other teachers in other subjects, and how to apply music in other areas of study. Overland’s information is unbiased as he voices both sides’ viewpoints clearly. He gives a great source for people wanting to know more about integrating different subjects with music. This source raises an argument I had not previously considered, that music benefits learning not just in cognitive function, but that it can help connect a subject with other subjects to help the learning be more complete and less rote memorization. This article will be useful because it can help give me a clear reason why music shouldn’t be disregarded at an educational tool.

Vitale, John Luke. “Music Makes You Smarter: A New Paradigm For Music Education?   Perceptions And Perspectives From Four Groups Of Elementary Education        Stakeholders.” Canadian Journal Of Education 34.3 (2011): 317-343. ERIC. Web. 19        Oct. 2014.

“Music Makes You Smarter: A New Paradigm For Music Education? Perceptions And Perspectives From Four Groups Of Elementary Education Stakeholders,” is a scholarly article found in the Canadian Journal of Education. The article is organized first with the purpose of the article, which is, “to investigate the “music makes you smarter” notion through the perceptions and perspectives of four groups of stakeholders in the educational arena, namely: elementary music teachers, elementary students, parents of elementary students, and non-music elementary teachers” (Vitale). Then he gives research in support and opposition of “Music Makes You Smarter.” Then he discusses data obtained from his own research, followed by findings and discussion of those findings. He then argues that music its self should be the focus of music education. This will be an intriguing reference for me to use due to the fact it has positives and negatives. It is controversial to discuss this subject because on one hand seeing that music helps students in other subjects is wonderful and will help keep music from being cut in schools, but, it can devalue music as a subject and it becomes viewed only as a helping tool and not a serious subject on its own. Before running across this article, I had no idea that the idea of music being beneficial to other subjects could actually devalue the subject of music. It will help me with my paper in a couple of ways. First, I will be able to use the argument that it does help with other subjects. Then, I will be able to defend music as a real subject and hopefully show people the best of both sides.

Weidknecht, Marguerite K. “Multicultural Music Education: Building An Appreciative     Audience.” American Educators Research (2009): ERIC. Web. 10 Oct. 2014.

“Multicultural Music Education: Building an Appreciative Audience,” is a report that was presented at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association. It was intended for the leaders of this meeting so that the information could be used across America in schools with music programs. This article is organized with basic information about what the experiment was and why it was done, then has data, and followed up with discussion on what the results mean. The author’s belief is that, “It is the responsibility of teachers to provide this opportunity for exploration in order to stimulate musical growth, expand the scope of musical familiarity, and thereby build an appreciative audience of students” (Weidknecht). He is discussing the topic of music in many cultures, but I firmly believe that the same is to be said about music teaching in general. In support of his belief he has data that proves that there is further appreciation of different kinds of music when students have some basic knowledge of the music. Weidknecht claims that teachers can give students broader knowledge of music and they will further appreciate it then. This is convincing due to the research results that had been done with the correct controlled variables. This will still be beneficial to my research due to the fact that there is a lack of appreciation for classical music in general, and that research of other culture’s music should be applicable to the traditional western classical music. After running into this article I believe that the appreciation starts young with knowledge learned in elementary school. The article will help prove that education is key to getting the general public to appreciate music.

Essay 1

Robert Schwartz

Dr. Mulliken

English 1312

9 September 2014

Growth in Life Leads to Growth in Music

All people, regardless of their circumstances, can be impacted or moved by music. Regardless of the genre, the language, or the notes on a page, people understand that music is powerful. Music has been dubbed the universal language for that very reason. Every person to walk this earth can connect with music even on the simplest of terms. No one needs the skill of reading music or playing an instrument to recognize that the effect it can have on a person is incredible. However, the question should be raised that even with an innate connection to music, can you fully understand and appreciate it without some understanding of life? Music and all of the arts are creative skills and unless the creativity is connected to the lives we are living, it will never serve its purpose of connecting with the audience.

Trained musicians struggle with this concept of connecting with the music more than nearly every other aspect of their craft. A musician can have full control of their instrument or voice, hit every note, and even follow the dynamics the composer intended for the piece; the problem emanates when trying to give the music life. Playing the “right” notes is not good enough. A performance with only “right” notes will be dull and unpleasing. What is needed from the musician is a connection between the music and his or her life. Something needs to make it real, to give it life. E.D. Hirsch Jr. states in his article Cultural Literacy, “A rich vocabulary is not a purely technical or rote-learnable skill. Knowledge of words is an adjunct to knowledge of cultural realities signified by words.” (290.) This quote speaks volumes for all art forms not just written words, but for painting, architecture, music, and so much more. Changing the quote to describe a rich musical experience or performance still is not purely technical or learned by rote. A performer could play all of the scales and know the way to achieve a “clean” performance, but until the comprehension of music is associated with life and the performer’s knowledge of life, the performance will be sub-par at best. The same could be said for the listener.

Let’s say the performer was able to connect his/her life and art; it will only be received as such by those individuals in the audience who are also in touch with their own personal lives. The music can and will mean different things to each individual audience member as well as the performer, and that is certainly fine and to be expected. This is due to the fact that all individuals are unique. The important thing is that both sides have the ability to make the connection. From a listener’s point of view, certain pieces can be broadly described with adjectives such as majestic, powerful, disheartening, spiritual, etc. However, the mistake comes when people try to explain the music when it never does the music justice. Leonard Bernstein, one of America’s greatest musical minds, discusses the meaning of music in a chapter of his book, The Joy of Music. He at one point is having a discussion with a friend and states that music has no meaning other than to simply be music. However, he also explains that there are relationships between musical and non-musical ideas, such as a piece of music can making an individual think of a sunset or mountains, though neither are the meaning of the piece. What Bernstein is trying to articulate to his friend is that the relationship is important, and what it relates to is different for all people (27-36). That is the beauty of art. Art has an impact on its audience, but the audience members are all struck differently depending on where an individual is within their own walk in life. Paulo Freire wrote an article called The Importance of the Act of Reading. In the article he professes his belief that, “Words should be laden with the meaning of the people’s existential experience, and not of the teacher’s experience.” (286). Again, this can be related to any form of art. When critics or teachers try to express to someone how to listen to music, it will never fully satisfy the needs of the listener. They must learn to connect the music to their own lives. For example, Shostakovich’s symphonies can evoke several powerful feelings for listeners who are able to connect to it. Shostakovich lived under the rule of Joseph Stalin and was constantly in fear of being sent to a prisoner camp or being executed due to his “radical” music. Shostakovich’s situation got so serious that he actually left a packed suitcase next to his door and slept on his couch so he could go with guards without disrupting or scaring his family. You can hear this kind of dark fear in his music. He even depicted that specific event in his 5th symphony. Someone who can relate this story, this music, to a time of fear in their own lives will very easily be moved by this piece. It is crucial that not only Shostakovich related his music to reality, but that both the performers and the listeners do as well. If there is a disconnect at any level then someone will not be attaining the full affect of what the art was meant to do. This is a serious problem that continues to occur; musicians and connoisseurs should all have some sort of understanding of how to make and intake music.

In the United States, music has always taken a back seat in regards to education and cultural enjoyment. Other nations around the world have a strong music culture. From France to China, music is simply a way of life; it is understood and appreciated from a very young age. Part of the disconnect Americans are having with a lack of appreciating music is that they are not being taught the correct things in school. As a society our musicians are generally less spectacular compared to other countries, and our country’s attitude towards music is saddening. Our schools are so goal-oriented with standardized tests and with attaining quality scores in competitions that certain individual needs are neglected. One of those needs is having a chance to explore and experiment with the world that surrounds students. Rather than having “knowledge” instilled in them so they can simply recite it, students should get the chance to take their knowledge and with time, turn it into wisdom with real application. Freire informs his readers that, “deciphering the word flowed naturally from reading my particular world; it was not superimposed on it.” (283). In music, the actual process of making or understanding music should come naturally, and it can, but it requires time for individual experimentation and reflection. Sadly, this doesn’t seam to exist in American culture today.

Music and arts in general are truly unique and special. They allow human kind to express raw emotion. Bernstein says it best, “Ultimately, one must simply accept the loving fact that people enjoy listening to organized sound; that this enjoyment can take the form of all kinds of responses from animal excitement to spiritual exaltation.” (11). However, our innate draw to music is only the first step. To really appreciate the creation of music, literature, painting, and the other arts, one must learn to grow as an individual, to accept unique feelings, and to express them in a way that only the individual feeling them can. Listeners and trained artists have to tackle the obstacle of connecting life and art, otherwise the real joy that comes from it will not be reached. This is a serious problem in America as society cares less and less about the arts and the wisdom it offers. Instead, society puts more emphasis on correct answers without connecting it to a bigger picture that is life. Until society sees this problem and does something to change, music and other arts will continue to suffer. The arts will continue to hurt economically and more importantly, they will continue being misunderstood and under-appreciated.

Works Cited

Bernstein, Leonard. The Joy of Music. New York, NY: Signet, 1967. Print.

Freire, Paulo. “The Importance of the Act of Reading.” Academic Universe: Research                   and Writing at Oklahoma State University. Eds. Richard Frohock et al. Plymouth: Hayden-McNeil, 2012. 281-86. Print.

Hirsch, Jr. E.D. “Cultural Literacy.” Academic Universe: Research and Writing at             Oklahoma State University. Eds. Richard Frohock et al. Plymouth: Hayden-    McNeil, 2012. 289-99. Print.

BP: 14

In my first blog post on August 24th in 2014 I started a journey in which I would discover more about my passion for music and specifically music education. In my first post, I introduced myself as a music education major. In essay 1, I worked on finding research questions within assigned readings and other sources. I incorporated music and non-music sources to write a paper and start shaping research ideas for the future. The sources I used in the first essay were two essays from the required text and then one from the book the Joy of Music by Leonard Bernstein. Using Bernstein’s book really inspired me and would help shape my research question. Bernstein was very passionate about music education to all people and helped me decide to go in the direction of educating the public about music. The second essay was the annotated bibliography. I found over 10 sources that were almost all important in discovering my actual research question. My research question ended up being, how can American society come to appreciate classical music? The third essay was a look back at my research process. It did very little in regards to helping me further my understanding of the subject, but it was neat to look back on all the work I had done and to see a finished annotated bibliography. The fourth essay put all the hard work together into one final project. The paper was very easy to write due to my passion for the subject and all the research I had put in prior to writing the paper. I enjoyed getting the chance to work on a large project over a long period of time and to really get a full grasp on the subject at hand.

BP #11

Starting with a simple idea, my research the past few weeks has enabled me to gain wisdom about music appreciation and education. My first idea was simple and broad, something to do with American societies lack of interest in classical music. It was the start to a blossoming flower of knowledge that has led me to my research question. How can American society come to appreciate classical music? It has also led me down the road to discovering that education is where the societal perceptions of classical music can really be changed. When looking for sources, I quickly discovered the database ERIC, which is based on education. My original plan was to make a section of my paper about education, but I found so many good articles in this education database that I have decided to make the majority of my article about music education. Through my sources I have a newfound belief that to truly make a change in society we must start young, with students who are still building there belief systems and world views. It is important to teach about music, without teaching the subject; there will be no respect for it. A great example of this would be soccer, similar to classical music, it is popular all around the globe, but has yet to set a firm foundation in America. If you ask an American teenager if they like football, chances are they will say yes, this is due to them growing up around the sport and being accustomed to it. However, soccer is different, if you ask the same student if they like soccer, chances are higher that they will say no unless they grew up watching and playing the game. This holds true for classical music as well, how can you appreciate something without knowledge of it? Well, the fact is you can’t, and it is the job of all musicians to educate today’s youth and get them interested music and the music making process.