By David L. Caffey
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of columns celebrating Music in Our Schools week.
What do people around the world have in common regardless of age, size, shape, or color? We crave music. We may like different kinds of music, but most of us seem to need it in our lives.
Why is that? Is it because music allows us to express feelings that can’t be put into words? Because it carries traditions, stories and ideas across time? Because it provides a way for people to come together to perform or enjoy hearing others perform? According to me, it’s all of these and more.
If anything taught in schools can be enjoyed lifelong, it’s music, and school music programs have a vital place in education.
Much about schooling requires students to be passive, but young people need the opportunity to “stand and deliver” — to prepare and practice and perform, whether in athletics, drama, agriculture, or music.
Young people also need opportunities to be part of a group with a common purpose, and to experience the thrill and power of achieving something together. For many young people, these things happen through band and choir programs.
I am thankful to the Abilene Independent School District for giving me the opportunity to “do music” a long time ago.
I love the old folk songs and patriotic songs we learned in elementary school. I still read music according to a method we learned in seventh-grade choir, equating notes to numbers. I also have fond memories of the Cooper High School Choir and the music we learned and worked to perfect, and performed several times on a two-day bus tour. I will never get Bach’s Jesu Meine Freude out of my head.
I am glad to live in a town that has a great tradition of public school music, where people love their kids enough to see that they have opportunities to acquire musical skills, make music, and hear the music in their lives. May it always be so.
David L. Caffey is Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness at Clovis Community College.