When educators think about a well balanced language arts program, writing is always included. Why don’t we think about this in the music classroom? Are we so intimidated by the greats? There is evidence to suggest this. (I wonder what Bach and Mozart would think about teaching composition to all, even if students did not show themselves to be musical geniuses.) I hear from workshop facilitators all the time how participants are reluctant to improvise on various instruments. These are music teacher participants we are speaking about!! How can we encourage our students to take risks if we cannot ourselves? I do not, however, blame them. I get it!!!
Music in our society has been elevated to an elite art. All are encouraged to enjoy it, but only the “talented” should be encouraged to create it. This limiting fundamental belief needs to be obliterated before we can move forward on bringing quality music instruction into every school in the US and beyond. After all, how can we justify it, if we ourselves believe that one needs “talent” to proceed? This change in perception MUST start with us. We MUST believe that music making is for everyone, not just the elite few.
Let’s define music making. Simply put, it means to make music. Period. This in no way implies that everyone must teach it or perform it, rather everyone should feel the freedom to sing or play or compose regardless of their perceived level. It is a form of expression that can be shared by one or many in various settings.
Isn’t this the point? Isn’t this why we do what we do? I would imagine that very few, if any, became music educators to only teach the “Mozarts and Beethovens” of the group. If that were the case, we would have left years ago. From speaking to thousands of music educators across the country, I know that most of us got into this field because we want to share our love of music with others. So share. Believe in what we do. Music is meant to be created by all. By destroying our own limiting beliefs about the kind of music we make, we will be able to make a greater difference in the world around us!