Tag Archives: music

Bleeding Music

10 Jan

I’m a lucky mom.  My son found his passion for music in middle school, and that passion has given his life focus.  He’s currently pursuing a double major: music education and saxophone performance, and has plans to continue on to grad school.  Music is like air to him–he absolutely needs it to be himself.  Music saturates his essence.  I’m endlessly grateful for the way he follows his passion.  I’m grateful for the clear and realistic path he has set, allowing for flexibility but never losing sight of the music.  Skillful in so many ways.

Selmer SA80 SeriesIII

Zach’s Golden Ticket.

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Save our Musicians

10 Nov

Our school district cut over $10 billion from it’s budget last year.  It’s looking to cut an additional $10 billion next year.  Where do school districts look first when they want to save money?  Music.  Arts.  Foreign Language. Libraries.  Any curricula that is not on “the test.”  Schools are so caught up in their race to the top that they seem to have forgotten that we’re talking KIDS’ lives here.  I’m sure I’m not the only parent who sees her student as more than just a series of test scores.

Mr. 16 has always been a “smart kid;” more than capable academically.  He puts up with academics because he knows success as represented by grades will allow him to pursue his true passion: music.  If it weren’t for music, he wouldn’t play the school game.  He’s not the only student passionate about that which is not tested.  He’s not the only student doing well in school because he’s happier when he’s also involved in music.  Many, many research studies have been done that verify the connection between higher achievement and involvement in music and arts programs.  It seems to me that in the search to save money and still boost achievement, school districts are shooting themselves in the foot when they put music and arts on the chopping block first.

I just completed a budget survey on our district’s website.  To their credit, they are gathering input from parents and staff; hopefully using this information to make the best decisions they can.  (They have a pattern of “gathering information” after they’ve already made up their minds on whatever it is, but want to give the impression of including your ideas.)  Being an online survey, it is limited in the sort of information it can gather.  It’s hard to put into character-limited word boxes the look on Mr 16’s face when he gets a new chart to play in jazz band.  Bubbles can’t express how Mr 16 turns to playing his soprano sax when he’s feeling down or confused.  Ratings can’t communicate the collective pride of the marching band after performing the show of a lifetime at State Competition.

 Of course every student needs to be able to read, write, balance a checkbook, understand what buying on credit really means…but think about YOUR life.  Is that ALL there is?  I want Mr16 to be an adult with an appreciation of life that exists beyond a paycheck.  And if he’s truly lucky his paycheck will come from music, and he’ll be able to afford a second cup of coffee now and then!

Music is making the man

9 Jun

I went with Mr. 15 to his saxophone lesson today.  He’s very serious about his music and is currently talking double major: composition and saxophone for college.  He owns three saxes–two altos and a soprano–and has another alto (for jazz) and an oboe borrowed from CHS for the summer.  He’s teaching himself the oboe because he’s looked into college requirements for admission to a composition program and found he needs to have a wider background in instruments.  Music has become his passion and has provided him with a sharp focus for his future.  Plus–the part that fills my heart and squeezes tears from my eyes–it brings him JOY.  There’s nothing more wonderful than the joy that dances across his face when he’s talking about his favorite composers (John Mackey is one), or sharing music that his music groups have already played/will be playing (scroll to hear the music) or anticipating future years’ guest artists for The Best of the West Festival.  He has his music when he needs a place safe from inevitable teen angst.  He’s too big for a mom’s kiss to mend his hurts; I’m glad he has something that helps.  Sigh….they grow up so fast…I’m proud of the young man who used to be my little boy.  Yup–I’m a lucky mom.

Immersion

7 Jun

Right now I’m sitting on my front porch with my laptop…and Mr. 15–who chose to be out here with me–I’m a lucky mom!  It’s a lovely evening.  The triple-digit heat of today has been swallowed by the evening.  A thunderstorm and its lightning lurks just north of here.  Mr. 15 is flicking bugs attracted to the light of my screen so I can see what I’m doing.  Crickets and night birds are singing in one ear, and Pendulum’s new album: Immersion is playing in my other ear.  Mr. 15 and I are sharing his iPod.  He has immersed me in a fabulous variety of music I would never think to listen to, and has a great feel for what I’ll like.  I love this connection with him.  His iPod holds thrash metal, ska, pop, concert and marching band selections, and more–some of which he doesn’t share because he knows I won’t like it.  We have an entire summer stretching out in front of us for more evenings on the porch and ice cream on hot afternoons, and granola for breakfast.  Ahhhhh…immersed in summer!