Scott Ashby has reformatted his blog at Music Teacher Cafe and it looks great. He recently read our post from March 10, 2009 that talked about people wanting a shortcut, a magic pullet, a secret potion for learning music whereby they can bypass 'all that note reading stuff'. His quote "Why is it that some people count not reading music as a virtue?" is right on. It prompted me to put together this reply:
Music educators have done a woefully poor job of promotion through the years; beginning with Lowell Mason and the Boston School Board and continuing now with 'Save the Music' programs (which are couched as being 'for the kids' but in reality, they're simply trying desperately to save band, choir and orchestra jobs).
Instead of capitalizing on the popularity of Rock Band, Guitar Hero and all other advances in technology, we choose to stick our collective heads in the ground and wonder why school music programs are dwindling.
There's a right way to go about it that will lead to a lifetime of joy for all who choose to partake. It's about relationships as well as delivery. Part of the current 'process' is teaching students to play Jingle Bells by the week after Thanksgiving - what adult cares about that? What kid in 2009 for that matter? That is equivalent to going for golf lessons and spending the first 6 months learning to master 'the windmill hole'.
We need to promote music education as a viable commodity without relying on academia for a market. It's dwindling anyway. The general public need to hear the message: enjoy the process of learning the language of music. There's no need to become a 'star', just enjoy music as a hobby like you would golf, gardening or reading. If we are successful, we can rejuvenate a struggling music education profession through private enterprise and 'save the music' programs will be a thing of the past.