Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ah, music! A magic far beyond all we do here! --jk rowling

Music forges the finer, more delicate compounds of learning, as aptly expressed in a recent guest commentary in The Denver Post, The Importance of Music in Schools.

This, many of us know to be true.  We know it personally.  We know it collectively.  And we know it to be true instinctively.  

It is this writer's hope that it's only a matter of time before public school administrators will lavish curriculums, once again, (or once and for all)  with music, art, dance and literature.   

I learned the flutophone when I was in 4th grade at Walt Whitman Elementary School.  Mrs Woods, the music teacher, taught us The Marine's Hymn using her trusty autoharp to keep us meticulously in time.  It was part of the curriculum. We practiced every day, the flutophone.  

Hardly the violin, or cello, but darn it, the flutophone was a musical instrument.  I performed my Marine's Hymn with the serious mind of a flutist.  Putting extra oomph into the notes, even adding a little vibrato.  Certainly, that flutophone facilitated my evolution to the penny whistle 20 years later, when my friend, Cindy Angel (now Schumacher,) suggested I give it a try.  Thanks, Cindy. 

Elderly Mrs Woods dressed gorgeously in raven black from head to toe.  Her hair was black, her glasses were black, her autoharp was... black.  I never learned the story behind all the black, but I believed there was one.  Was she in mourning? Maybe Mrs Woods was the forbearer of early Goth, wearing black pumps, black hosiery, and A-lines. Maybe. 

My own children were raised listening to classical music both at home and at school.  At the Denver Waldorf School, they learned the recorder in first grade, and then cello beginning in third grade, as part of the curriculum.  Even now, in college, they adapt to foreign languages, math concepts, technological complexities and social nuances with ease. 

There's something magical that takes place in learning... when children are allowed to "experience music."  Something happens to the brain.  Is it quantitative? I don't know. 
I hope so.  But it's not just the notes, themselves.  It's the yin and yang.  The knowing when to breath, when to strike, when to rest.  It's everything, the whole enchilada.  Mozart understood this,  "The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between."  Ah!  

Now that's what I'm talking about.   And I think... Mrs Woods would have agreed.  



Thea said...

Ah, Mrs. Woods. Yes, she was in mourning...Even her mood was dark and sad. But I think the music she made was the only thing that made her feel some joy. She would hate that the schools have messed with her music programs. I can't believe the public schools have all but eliminated the Arts. Let's hope that changes soon!
Great post Carmel

Carmela LaVigna Coyle said...

I can't really remember her laughing much less cracking a smile. Mrs Sauer would know the story as they were good friends. Lucky we were to have a music program.