This past week I had the opportunity to accompany for a combined chorus of over 130 4th and 5th graders. They sang their hearts out on the classic song Lean on Me as well as several other arrangements. It was the biggest musical experience most of them had ever been a part of. Teachers, volunteers like me and organizers gave willingly to help prepare the students for the big performance. Parents, friends, grandparents, teachers and community members all turned out in big numbers to support the students of Lincoln County as they performed. We all believe that Music Education Matters in the school system and is worth supporting with our time and skills.
Combined Chorus Experience
When students are a part of a musical experience like this, they are taken to a new world where one voice becomes a powerful piece of the whole picture. Most elementary school students who are in a music program only hear about 20 voices singing. They may get 30 minutes a week in a music class where they are exposed to a variety of musical styles and instruments.
The Lincoln County School System decided to do a joint musical night and let all the elementary school chorus groups learn the same song and do some combined pieces. When the students were learning the songs in their individual music classes, they didn’t see the big picture. Even my 5th grader was skeptical that over 130 kids could learn a song on their own and then come together and actually sound good.
On the day of the rehearsal the conductor was able to take the individual school chorus groups and transform them into an impressive musical choir.
Why Music Education Matters
Music is a part of everyone’s life.
Whether you are an amazing vocalist or instrumentalist in real life, everyone has music in their life. You go to a birthday party, you are expected to be able to participate in singing Happy Birthday. If you attend church, there is music at every service. New Years Eve celebration traditionally end with everyone singing “Auld Lang Syne”. Holiday carols are a central part of all Christmas traditions. Even sports fans love joining in with their school fight songs. UT Rocky Top or UK My Old Kentucky Home sound familiar? Whether they have a future on American Idol or not, children should be taught how to use their voice and sing when they are young.
Music teaches team work and discipline.
Anyone attending the concert this week would agree that it was a very orderly event. Even though there were over 250 students ranging from 4th to 11th grade, it was not chaos. When it was time for the entire school district chorus groups to assemble on the risers to sing the finale, the students were controlled. They had been shown what was expected and knew where they were supposed to stand.Students that needed help on the steps because of crutches were given a hand. When the piano needed to be moved or risers added to the stage, there were students on hand working together to get it done. The students had worked hard to memorize words and notes and knew where they were supposed to sing.There was one conductor on stage who had complete control of all 250 students. They watched him carefully and followed his lead. Even the elementary students were able to stay together and perform claps and cut-offs on cue. The middle school students showed their hard work by doing a whole series of choreography during their number.
Music allows all students to create something beautiful.
Even individuals who do not have extraordinary talent can create beautiful music. I have seen many choral events where the whole is definitely better than the parts. Individual choral members may only have average voices, but when you put them all together, you can create something incredibly beautiful. Music is not always about talent. Many times, a musical experience can transport the musician and listener to another place. When the combined elementary chorus sang Climbing Up the Mountain, it was a magical time. The kids were each giving it 100%. They knew they were making a connection to the audience.
I have played piano since I was 6 years old. I know that music education matters! What do you think? Are you involved in the music program at your school? church? organization? Do you love music? I’d love to hear your thoughts on music in the classroom and on the stage!