America is a nation of problem solvers; it's a part of our cultural DNA. For over 243 years, entrepreneurs, corporate partners, and government agencies have been working collaboratively to address what ails, not just our country, but our world. Granted, we're not always quick to act, but once we engage, LOOK OUT!
Think about it, Americans have:
Battled back tyranny, in not one but two, world wars.
Risen up to face natural disasters and help those affected.
Put a man on the moon. Ended polio (Jonas Sulk).
Created dwarf wheat to address a global famine and world-wide hunger (Norman Borlaug).
Changed the way the world travels (Henry Ford & the Wright brothers).
Illuminated our lives and changed the way we communicate (Edison & Bell).
Created the personal computer (Henry Edwards Roberts), as well as the internet you surf on (Robert E. Kahn and Vint Cerf).
I'm not saying that America is the ONLY place where innovation happens, just that our national identity is rooted in a strong work ethic and a can-do attitude.
Like I said, Americans LOVE to solve a problem.
And that's a problem for music education because WE'RE NOT A PROBLEM.
And that's a BIG problem.
If music education wants to get more time and attention,
then we best stop acting like the problem solvers we are and become the problem creators we aren't.
You want to get America to sit up and take notice? You want them to devote more time, energy, and resources to our activity?
That's an easy fix.
Music kids just need to start failing more classes. And I don't mean, one or two. They need to start tanking in ALL of their classes.
They can't stop there. These kids need to start mouthing off in class and picking some fights.
They need to start smoking in the bathrooms and drinking during lunch.
And that's WHEN they go to school, which should be random at best.
Eventually, these little underachievers need to drop out entirely and start meandering their way through the social services network until they emancipate at eighteen, where they can fade into a life of challenges, poverty, and heartbreak.
If we can do that, music education will most certainly attract the focus of the masses and become the cause de jour for politicians and celebrities alike.
If you want to stand out in today's society, you have to make some noise, Break some rules and cause some chaos. Be a disruptor and go against the grain. To get people's attention, you have to focus on you and ignore others. You have to consider only the gain and none of the consequences.
But, that's not the way music kids operate. In fact, it's quite the opposite. As a general rule, music students are the very model of what you want a student to be: academically successful, involved, and responsible. They strive for excellence and are detail-oriented. They do what they're told and are kind and courteous to others. In short, they are the young people we want other young people to be.
And, that's no way to get someone's attention.
Music education will likely never get the attention it deserves because our students don't create a problem to solve, and that is what America does best. By preparing our students for success in life, we have made them unsuccessful at failing.
I guess that means that WE are the problem.
Have a great week.