On Education

On Education
June 1, 2020 leonard slatkin

Throughout my entire educational experience as a student of the Los Angeles Public Schools, I was the beneficiary of a great system that included a rigorous arts curriculum. However, for more than two generations, there has been a steady deterioration of arts programs and a decline in how our young people are taught about the creative process.

What happened? How did we lose this valuable aspect of education? Clearly social and economic factors came into play. As we raced to get to the moon, we slowed down in regard to the culture. Today many young people would be challenged to name just three great composers, painters, architects or poets. We now exist in a highly visual age, one in which the value of the listening experience gets tied into what we see.

I ask you to consider how we might change the current thinking and implement true change in our educational institutions. Please submit any questions or comments.

Question or suggestion (1)

  1. Tim Franklin 4 weeks ago

    In many ways, music education in American public schools has shifted away from nurturing a love for music through discovery and performance and moved into the arena of competitive events and used as an agent for public relations and athletic background music. Frank Battisti, former conductor of the New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble stated, “Band program experiences often consist of too much activity and not enough art.” This problem does not solely lie in the area of the band experience but exists in all areas of music education. There are many fine music educators and offerings throughout the country, but cutbacks have resulted in fewer school districts in the United States having a guiding voice and advocate for true music education. Each year more school music offerings are removed. Even now a school board in Massachusetts has voted to remove all music programs for the 2020-21 academic year. Some of the greatest music, art, and literature in American history was created during the Depression. It was a connecting point, places of beauty and hope amid the financial downturn and the storms of World War II brewing in Europe and the Pacific Rim. Will music survive in American schools?

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