One of the greatest parts of being a band director is that what I do really matters. Beyond the students acquiring a skill of playing an instrument or working together as a team, there is this aesthetic element of education in the arts that is just absent in most every other line of education.
I’m not discounting the importance of grammar or math or science or social studies or athletics or technology education or whatever else might be offered. Were it not for those, I wouldn’t have the amazing opportunities that I have. Plus, Texas law says that students have to pass all of their classes in a grading period before they are even allowed to participate in extracurricular activities.
But I found this past school year more than ever that many people simply do not even remotely understand what it is that we do in the band world. From budget planning to schedule coordination to fundraising to advocating for the students, most of the work that we do has nothing to do with actual music-making.
One of my huge projects for the upcoming year will be called Band Directing 101 where I go through some of the numerous things that are part of my daily routine that I never really give a second thought. Until I’m confronted by a teacher who tells me she wishes she had my job because “all [I] do is stand up in the front of the room and wave my arms.” Of course, these are often the same teachers who complain about having to walk around the room and constantly monitor their students when we are giving the TAKS test, but I digress.
So with everything that we do to keep the program running and to positively represent the school, it’s easy to forget about the emotional element of what we teach. This summer, I’ve been watching and listening to quite a few of the TEDTalks and a number of music-related ones jumped out at me. A quick search of ted.com for “music” yielded 434 results. Clearly music is important!
While this is not an exhaustive list, I want to share with you some of the highlights of what I’ve heard so far. Though I won’t include the videos of all of them, I think it’s important to start out with this one by Benjamin Zander on Music and Passion.
The next video is one of the most clear articulations of why music education is fundamental to a person’s overall education, especially in the most poverty-stricken areas.
Needless to say that music is the number one prevention against prostitution, violence, bad habits, and everything degrading of the life of a child.
Here is José Abreu on Kids Transformed by Music.
Finally check these out
- David Bryne: How architecture helped music evolve
- Evelyn Glennie: Listening to music with your whole body
- Evelyn Glennie shows how to listen
- Itay Talgam: Lead like the great conductors
- Julian Treasure: The 4 ways sound affects us (not specifically music-related)
- Matthew White gives the euphonium a new voice
- Robert Gupta: Music is medicine, music is sanity
- Sirina Huang: 11 year old dazzles on violin