“Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them – a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music.”
—President Gerald Ford
Libraries on Long Island recently had their budget votes. Thank you to all who came out to vote on ours! Coming in May are the school budget votes. It seems I’m always preaching to the choir, as they say. If you’re reading The Quarter Notes Blog, you are already an ardent music fan. However, I feel one can never emphasize the importance of music in the life and education of our children enough.
Two recent news stories come to mind which I am sharing with you to illustrate my passion for keeping music in our schools. Long Islander, Kwasi Enin, a senior at William Floyd High School in Shirley, NY was accepted to all 8 Ivy League colleges. In addition to all his outstanding grades and activities, he plays viola in the school orchestra and is in the youth and bell choirs at his church. Enin has said that music has played a significant role in his life: he states that music “has become the spark of my intellectual curiosity. I would not have the admiration of my teachers and friends if I had not let the charisma of music persuade me to become a performer in my school, town and state.”
A few weeks ago, a family member sent us this link to the following video of people in Syracuse, NY (my home town, where I attended graduate school and both our daughters did their college studies). Not being well-versed in popular music, I just thought it was a great song in the background of an equally great video and left it at that. However, on the CBS Sunday Morning show, this past April 13, 2014, they presented the singer/composer of that very same song: “Happy”. Now, not only did I have a face and personality to link with the song, but I found out that he, Pharrell Williams, is a well-respected and very successful musician, a seven-time Grammy award-winning artist. He gives all the credit for his musical passion and talents to his public school music teachers, going so far to say that if it hadn’t been for them, he would still be in Virginia, doing something totally different from being the extremely successful musician that he is today. Read his story and then remind yourselves to vote for your school budgets so that music will continue to be an important part of our children’s and our lives.
Our “Did You Know?” for today is about Georges Bizet, composer of Carmen, one of the most famous and popular operas of all time. Bizet’s ability as a pianist and sight-reader impressed Franz Liszt so much that he pronounced him his equal. His composition teacher, Fromental Halevy later became his father-in-law, as he married Halevy’s daughter. Bizet’s given name was Alexandre Cesar Leopold. He just liked Georges better!
Lastly, please check out a few brand new acquisitions to our Library’s music collection which I am very excited about:
1. In honor of the 300th anniversary of the birth in 1714 of C.P.E. Bach (second son of J.S. Bach), we have added The CPE Bach Collection, a 13-CD set, just released in March. C.P.E. Bach composed in numerous genres, including keyboard works, symphonies, solo flute works and much more. There’s enough music on this collection to keep you inspired during quite a lot of listening!
2. A brand new 2014 book, by Kathy Caton, called Da Capo From the Beginning, should be on your list of must reads. The subtitle is “Inspiring Life Lessons from the Other Side of the Baton” which gives you a hint of what it’s about: teaching music.
3. Published in 2013, Joanne Lipman’s book entitled Strings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations looks at the life of a tough Ukrainian immigrant music teacher who transformed his students and daughters into better musicians and better people.
Stay tuned to the Quarter Notes Blog and in tune with all the music in your life!
April 16, 2014