The following guest post is by Mitchell Robinson and was first posted at his education-focused blog MitchellRobinson.net. He offered it up to me to share with the readers of Eclectablog and I immediately took him up on it having already read his beautiful prose. Robinson is associate professor and chair of music education at Michigan State University. He has held previous collegiate appointments at the University of Connecticut and Eastman School of Music and his essay centers around the importance of art and music in public schools. Its not just an academic discussion. In Lansing Public Schools, for example, they have eliminated the music and arts programs.
Be sure to stop by MitchellRobinson.net to read more of Robinson’s excellent writing.
I was out for my morning run today, and as I came around a bend in the road could see two little girls waiting for their bus off in the distance. Oblivious to their surroundings, they were left to their own devices. They could do whatever they wanted to do, with no adults to interfere or give direction.
So what did they do?
They held hands and danced.
They chanted a rhyme.
They sang a song.
And they laughed.
They did these things not because they were bored, or because they didn’t know what else to do. They danced and sang because this is how children make sense of their world, and their relationships.
When school boards and administrators take art, music, library, physical education and recess out of the school day, they leave behind an impoverished education for the children for whom they are responsible.
Every child deserves to be taught these disciplines by a certified, qualified teacher, with adequate supplies, materials and facilities.
The arts are not a frill, a “special”, or a “break” for classroom teachers’ planning time. They are a critical, integral component of a full and rich educational experience for every child, and a necessary part of the curriculum.
Just ask those two little girls.
[Photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]