Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Stop the Madness!

Why are music educators so emphatic about giving away their services? I just learned of a free music school in the Chicago area. How wonderful it must be for those students and their families who are fortunate enough to get a slot for free lessons! However, are programs like this good for the health of our industry, music education as a whole? Are the musicians/music educators in that area so well off that they can afford to work for little or no fees?

The Peoples Music School recently constructed a new building that cost over $1 million dollars. Evidently the have no problem paying construction workers up there in the windy city. I read a long list of supporters, foundations and 'individuals like you' - you that is, unless you are a music teacher. In that case you need to donate your time and talent because that's all you can afford to give. Does anyone else think this sounds whacky?

There's no doubt that free music lessons are wonderful for those students, families and communities on the receiving end. But let's take a good hard look at the health of our industry as a whole before giving away the farm. If music teachers were compensated on a par with other disciplines, maybe more of these schools would be popping up around the country.

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