Sunday, March 3, 2013

" without music, life is a mistake...."

" I care about these kids just as much as you do. And if I'm forced to choose between Mozart and reading and writing and long division, I choose long division..... Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want, Gene. Sooner or later, these kids aren't going to have anything to read or write about." --Mr. Holland's Opus

           There is not a thought, event or memory in my life that has not been enriched by the power of music. When you hear a song or melody you feel  transported back in time to the very moment when that music was absorbed by your heart and soul. Now harmony and melody has become a part of you as if you had covered a composition with a delectable chocolate glaze, savoring and digesting its unique flavor. My greatest fortune was exposure to many genres of music early in life. Both of my parents were music lovers. Watching and listening to how much my mother enjoyed music really inspired me as a child. She was so happy singing and dancing. She seemed to understand and recite every line, every lyric. Johnny Mathis, the Bee Gee's and Mac Davis were just a few of her favorites. My father owned at least six or seven over stuffed record cases full of forty-five's. He had album collections and transistor radio's always turned on and tuned in. We were exposed to Motown, jazz, Big Band, country, classical and especially rock n'roll. Our family was either listening, singing or watching musical shows and movies on television. Do you remember The Sonny and Cher Show, The Partridge Family,  the Hudson Brothers or  American Bandstand? The first time I saw the musical, Oliver! was when I was three or four years old...."who will buy this wonderful feeling? Who will tie it up with a ribbon and put it in a box for me?" Each song I hear is like unwrapping a beautiful gift.

     My sister Les played guitar and has two children who participated in band. Her son plays the guitar today. My sister Laurie, a teacher, played flute and saxophone (T-Sax). She and her husbands love of music inspired their son who is now a high school drum major and trumpet player. Percussion was my passion. Three brothers played trombone, trumpet and tuba. Our high school band director taught five out of six musicians from our family. Every few years he would see a familiar face and read a name from a roster  only to astoundingly proclaim, "What? Another, More?"  It was in our blood. We all cherished playing and performing in marching, concert and jazz band. Academic studies worldwide have proven that studying music increases test scores, focus and significantly improves a child's understanding of other subjects. Music allowed us to travel, encouraged social interaction, taught us history, respect, responsibility, teamwork, and discipline.  Most importantly it taught us how to listen. The search for beauty and truth through art is what sustains humanity. We should never under estimate the full power and omnipotent force of music. It makes me so angry to think our country cuts funding for music programs every year because ignorant fools believe it's not essential to a child's education.. We must fight for the survival of music yet to be written. Every life has a story and that story has a remarkable soundtrack.