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musical education

So I've been having a number of light bulb moments considering education lately. Maybe its the influence of the education majors I'm around, maybe its the influence of living 24/7 for 7 months in an institution of higher learning. Whatever it is, I seem to have a lot to say about education recently. Today, what is bothering me is the absence of music in education.

If you had Malaysian public education like I did, then the only music education you ever got was probably something like mine. 6 primary school years of being taught songs by my piano-playing music teacher; songs that talked about telephones, fruits, patents, playgrounds and the like. Also, a couple of lessons on how to hit different notes on a recorder. Other than that, I pretty much had to take all my music lessons privately.

What boggles me is that our country seems so indifferent and unenthusiastic about teaching kids music. Music was the 'waste' time period during my days at La Salle primary which often got replaced with English and Science come the weeks leading up to UPSR. Music is still seen by many as something we should know just in case we can't get a "real" job. Worse case senario: be a music teacher LAH.

What a load of crap man. If I were to ask, how many people don't listen to music, and I mean any kind of music, be it classical music like Bach or Mozart, or oldies like Sinatra and Nat King Cole, or cheesy pop music by Britney and Paris Hilton, or the talking thing, "rap" that they call music, or the bling bling crap that I never get, if I were to ask how many people didn't listen to music, no one would put up their hands. If I were to ask how many people were unmoved by music or had never found a song inspirational or emotionally heart robbing, again, no one would put up their hand. We all hate "My Heart will go on" from Titanic, but you have to admit, as sloppy and cheesy as it is, in the moment (the I jump, you jump moment and the Jack I'm flying moment) the song did move and stir up emotion.

Maybe I'm a romanticist and a greater proponent of the humanist and emotional side of life. But somehow, I think that there is no emotional depth or passion in our education system. All that is important seems to be our ability to memorize and puke. What has happened to the humanist side of it all. Where is the love for school, the thirst for education, the passion for life? Why aren't we teaching our kids about the things that move us. Things like music. Isn't emotional self expression just as important as the sciences. Or do we really think that it is a par below everything else. On a side note, no one has ever thought of music in math?!? Or math in music. There is a 'science' of music too. Why don't we explore all that.

So, my proposition is this: bring music back to schools. We don't need to make it compulsory or anything, at least not at first. I admit the cost of implementing music is pretty high taking into account the cost of instruments and all. However, if we start by offering it as an elective, allowing our kids the option of studying something that at least they have interest in, like pop culture, the basics of music, the wisdom of Bono, anything that involves and evokes the passion that comes forth from music, if we can do that, then I think we're are giving kids a REAL sense of education.

2 mad rant(s):

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  1. Comrade Cripple said...

    Asians treat the Humanist side of life to be a mere triviality unable earn one a living. We Generation Y children are the only ones who can change this perception.  

  2. thwen said...

    I hate it most when people think classical music is slow and boring. I don't think Chopin's music is a hum drum, for one.

    Thankfully, my secondary school had this choir-band-orchestra club... I joined the club when I was Form 5 (last year) for the first and last time, and I had a great deal of fun.

    From grueling choir practices, performances and competitions- I had a great time conducting the school choir. In a way, music disciplines students. And not many students are well-disciplined these days....  


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