Don’t tell us that music makes you smarter.
How does the football team present football? They don’t tell you that you’ll do better in classes. A kid joins football because she want to play football. You watch football because you learned to watch it as a kid. Your experiences shaped your opinions and you didn’t need to be told of any further value than that.
Don’t tell us that music makes you smarter. Tell us that music has intrinsic value. And teach us why.
For more than twenty years, our Rockford football coach has devoted three hours per week during football season to “Moms Football School.” It’s an incredibly savvy idea. He teaches how football works to the parents who aren’t already fans; he helps them to understand the game in more depth. Along the way, he makes these parents into evangelists for his team and for football in general. It’s just one way that he insures that the community understands and values what he’s doing.
When was the last time you taught your community about musicals? About Renaissance music? About solfege?
The work that the typical choral conductor does on a daily basis is incredibly sophisticated, exercising many parts of their students’ minds while teaching them and enhancing skills. But the same is true of every teacher in your building; of every coach on every field. And the community already understands the value of math and athletics. The world does a good job on those ones.
Don’t tell us that music makes you smarter. Take the time to explain why music is of value in and of itself. Start with your students, then their parents. Extend to your community. Keep the message going for a couple of decades, and expect a difference in how your community values music.
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