MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

November 20, 2012

THE PEOPLE SPEAK – Don’t let budget cuts hurt music, art, drama

— I want you to think about your favorite song. I bet you can hear it in your head.

How about this: Imagine you are at a football game at your hometown stadium and an outstanding athlete breaks a touchdown run down the sidelines and amid the cheers and whooping, the high school band is joyfully playing the school fight song.

Imagine first-grade students, nervously fidgeting because they have never been on stage before until this first Christmas concert that they have prepared for during weeks of classes. When they begin to sing, good or bad, it shouts joy!

Imagine walking down the hall and hearing a sublimely beautiful rendition of “Danny Boy” sung in four parts.

Now imagine it’s all gone.

Imagine now that the training is gone from our schools.

Students that had once defined themselves as musicians struggle with self-identity or self-worth. Instead of utilizing the arts as an outlet for feelings and emotions, the one thing that kept them off of drugs and alcohol is gone. The things learned in the arts that apply to other studies is gone.  

No school song is played by band members that have prepared not only fun music but a show that requires immense self-discipline. Football games are only accompanied by cheers that soon die down. No parades. No carols during the Christmas season. No young child singing “Jingle Bells” at the top of their lungs.

When the budget cuts begin in Oklahoma, this will become a reality for many schools. So when you turn on your radio, remember that music comes through discipline. Music is the tip of the iceberg for all over Oklahoma soon principals and superintendents will have to make the difficult decision of cutting art, drama, music, and other programs that help students define themselves.

Call your local school and tell them what is important to you in the coming months. It truly isn’t about teacher pay, that is a problem separate of this, it is about your kid’s joy and self-identity.

DAVID SMITH

Muskogee

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