Indeed, why should we as a community encourage our youth to study music? Certainly, music is a fun group activity, and one that can build up a student's self-confidence and self-esteem through positive performance experiences. But we must look more deeply to understand why it is so important for our youth to study the arts, and why the study of music has been valued by all cultures throughout history.
Musical intelligence is a bridge between the left and right hemispheres of the human brain, and musical connections developed through music education and musical performances enhance brain function at every level of musicianship. Musical growth equates to intellectual growth at every level of cognitive development. But don't take my word for it... do your own research. It's all there, in study after study, linking arts education with higher student achievement and enhanced critical thinking skills.
Some people may think that arts educators are motivated to speak out for the arts because they are fearful of losing their jobs due to cuts in education budgets. Let me assure you that is not the case here. Hey, I could teach history for a living, I have the necessary credentials. But I choose music because that is where the need is greatest. Not all music students go on to have musical careers; that is not the point of music education. The point is, they will become more sensitive, deeper thinking and more compassionate people because of their experiences in music at San Mateo High School. That is what we truly celebrate, and any joyful sounds my students make are simply by-products of their open-minded approach to the study of music.
2013-2014 Jazz Band audition materials are available here