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Music Matters

by: Pearle Christian - November 12, 2014
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DAME Music Education Day

In every culture, music is a central medium of human communication which brings enjoyment to performers and audiences alike, consequently it can create pleasant and harmonious feelings within the community where it exists. It is utilised to express beliefs, feelings and principles. It is true that Music in a number of ways can shape the character and abilities of its participants.

The Dominica Association of Music Educators, cognisant of the fact that music is invaluable to the peoples of all societies, is committed to advocating for every Dominican child regardless of race, colour, creed or economic status, to have an opportunity to participate fully in the beauty of music not simply as a listener, but also as a creator and performer of the art form. The concept of music education is not at all new. Many centuries ago in the Middle Ages, the accepted standard of music playing a central role in the education of a person was commonplace. Any man found lacking in one or more of the four main subjects of the day- Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy and Music, was considered uneducated. Even in those times, it was realised that there were many benefits to be derived from involvement in music.

Those benefits go beyond mere enjoyment. Singing with a choral group, playing with a steelband or a concert band, encourages self discipline and diligence, traits which will carry over into other intellectual pursuits that lead to effective study and work habits. Involvement in the creation and performance of music promotes self expression, develops self confidence and nurtures creativity. There is scientific evidence which proves that music education enhances education in maths and science and is a compelling solution to teen violence. The Houston Chronicle of January 1998 quoting from the Texas Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse Report revealed that secondary school students who participated in band or orchestra reported the lowest lifetime and current use of all substances (alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs). The National Arts Education Research Centre, New York University, 1990 reported that students who participated in Arts programmes showed significant increases in self esteem and thinking skills.

As students move out into the world of work, knowledge of music can allow for further opportunity for income generation, thus increasing the local tax base, boosting tourism and spurring growth in related areas of the hospitality business. A higher quality of music will undoubtedly enhance worship as well as entertainment for the general public and in fact improve the overall quality of life in our villages and towns.

Being able to read and write music allows an individual deeper and more satisfying involvement in the art form. Everybody is capable of becoming musically literate and DAME is supportive of the efforts of the Education policy makers in charting the course of musical education offered to you in your schools towards achieving this goal.

In the words of the great Hugarian composer Zoltan Kodaly, “All people capable of lingual literacy are also capable of Musical literacy. Musical literacy should not be the property of a chosen few, but a general knowledge of all. It is not too many centuries ago that the ability to read was the privilege of the elite. The common man was thought to be incapable of so erudite an exercise as reading. Today, in a time of universal lingual literacy, this view point seems absurd. There is no reason to suppose that human beings are less capable of learning to read music than words. Music reading, like word reading is a taught skill, a skill that not only can but should be taught. If the language of music becomes a known language, enjoyment of music will certainly increase, and the quality of life itself, improve.”

So get involved in the musical activity in your schools and various communities because when you really think about it …. Music matters.

by Pearle Christian