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Monday, March 14, 2011

Musicians: Why Music Matters

Who better than a musician to tell us why music in education matters and how much we all benefit from having music in our lives. Here at several of us have worked in the music industry. We have reached out to our friends to ask: Why does music in education matter to you?

Darryl Phinnessee, Grammy winner, Singer and Composer (you know the tunes! like the "Fraser" theme lyrics "Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs), Michael Jackson band, Rod Stewart, Lionel Richie, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, The Black Crowes, Ray Charles........... we run out of space :-) 

"Not only is music one of our most beautiful & creative artistic expressions, it is also mathematics expressed in sound". So students get two disciplines with music. Art & Science."

Eddie Baytos, musician (he plays piano, accordion, B-3 organ, drums, percussion, harmonica, slide guitar, guitar, dobro), dancer, choreographer, film maker. Has worked with everybody, including Bruce Springsteen, Annie Lennox, Eurythmics, Bo Diddley, Prince, Mark Wahlberg, Rickie Nelson, ....... and his own band, The Nervis Brothers.

"Music has had a place in schools since the dawn of man. Over thousands of years it has been one of the first things taught to children because it helps with learning other subjects and as well as with brain development & retention. It has been proven time and time again. The ancient Egyptians, Sumarians and so on have know about this. Music is like breathing to all human beings and should not be exempted but included in all school programs. Art and dance also. So please don't stop these vital programs. Make sure they are implemented! "

Alex Fletcher, Singer and co-founder of Order 66.

"Music is an art form. Art is meant to move human emotions and make us think more. Music is also the bases of what moves our lives everyday. When we drive our cars most of us listen to our favorite radio station. When we hang out with our friends most of the time we start quoting lines from a song we love. Music in schools are important because they make students expand their minds to a world where they can create. Without the will to create, we have nothing."

Bill Macpherson, Zaire-born and raised, guitarist and multiple Grammy nominee. Has played with jazz /flamenco violinist extraordinaire Willie Royal, the Willie of "Willie and Lobo" and is bandleader/founder/producer of Native Vibe.

"The focus required to develop music skills is considerable.  Learning any instrument well is difficult so students really have to put in time to their practicing.  There is little instant gratification so you have to learn patience, discipline and  humility.  As you persevere in the process students gain a sense of pride and self-esteem.  This can come in the form of praise from an impromptu performance in your own home, participation in a talent show or an actual performance in public.  Another benefit to being able to play an instrument is this is a very healthy, relaxing, calming activity to do , like yoga or meditation.   Another benefit is social,  as children or  young adults develop music skills they can interact with other musicians,  in bands, ensembles, choir, church groups etc.  This is healthy and positive comradery and time well spent with other like minded and motivated young people. Last but not least is the incredible benefit of being able to tap into your personal creativity and have a vehicle to release it."  

Matt Cornwall, DJ, is known internationally for his outstanding work spinning records at events for clients such as star photographer David LaChapelle, R&B star Macy Gray, Starwood Hotels, Warner Bros., Fox, and EventWorks.

 "Music is not just important in schools... it's of the most dire importance.. right up there with math, literature, and now..physical ed! Since the absolute beginning of human history, music has always played a  fundamental, crucial and critical role in the evolution of story telling and ultimately human communication. I can think of no greater power than music. It heals, it moves, it represents, it changes ... what more do you want?? It is truly our collective innate gift, the power of song and making music. You stop teaching music, you ultimately stop the song of humanity. That's not being dramatic, that is the truth. 
Let the music play on~ 

Tom Jacob, drummer, keyboardist, songwriter. Al Jardine's Endless Summer Band, Lanny Ray and The Strangers and many many many studio sessions.

"My brother was my inspiration for getting into drumming and piano playing, 35 years ago. You know why? He was listening to Elvis and the Beatles and went to school to learn how to do what they did. I myself studied music theory, electronic music, (Old school) patching raps & moog synthesizers, when they were something no one had seen before. I took guitar, choir and piano. It set the foundation for a career that stems from entertaining the troops in Vietnam at the young age of 9 years old and culminating to recording and touring with Hall of Fame inductee, Life time achievement Award winning, original Beach Boy, Al Jardine.

  Education not only helped my music career, but gave me so many other benefits. It kept me out of trouble, gave me more presence of mind and a creative perspective in all aspects of my life. It is a known fact that the arts, whether it be music or otherwise, is also a more positive influence on any Childs creative endeavors. 

Pursue your creative dreams………..Go to School"

 Yochanan Sebastian Winstonflutist, saxophonist, conductor and composer. He has worked globally as a music educator and performer whose collaborations include
Chaka Khan, David Sanborn, Anthony Braxton, Steve Reich, Avraham Fried, the Arditti String Quartet and Pierre-Yves Artaud and many more.

"For years, musicians and its lovers sat idly by while politicians continuously cut back on music and arts programs in the schools. We in the creative community (musicians, artists, dancers, etc.) had very little response other than, "What a shame. Music and art are so NICE." It wasn't until quite recently that university researchers gave us the ammo we needed all along. You see, music and art IS nice. BUT, it has been proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that the study of music creates synaptic relationships in the brain that improve the following areas:1. Cognition (the ability to understand) 2. Spatial relationships 3. Math 4. Time/space continua (actions occurring with a time coefficient)Furthermore, it teaches a student incredibly valuable lessons about team building and discipline (IF you work at something, you WILL get better at it). It's not for no reason that education from the early Greeks through the Renaissance always saw the study of music as ESSENTIAL to the education of a human being. It's not just NICE!!! It's incredibly valuable (too)."


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