My name is Anne Tarmann and I am a student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am pursuing a career in Strategic Communications with a certificate in digital studies and environmental studies. My interests include music and the arts, cooking and traveling.
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Music is deeply rooted into the history of my family, starting with my great grandfather Vincent Castiglione, who emigrated from Italy in the 1920s and established the largest accordion company in the United States. I continued this tradition of music when I started playing the clarinet when I was 10 years old. I became involved in programs and camps including the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) and Interlochen Arts Camp and experienced the positive effects music had on youth firsthand. These programs foster critical thinking skills, time management and self-discipline, all of which are necessary for the real world. Interactions with musicians of different backgrounds, customs and cultures, music teaches children the importance of diversity. Music is not only my passion in life, but also an experience that has led me to pursue a career in journalism to speak for the power of music.
The article The Importance of Music Education describes how Henry Fogel, President and CEO of the League of American Orchestras, stresses the importance of the music education programs in schools as American values of education are changing. Fogel talks about how influential figures in the arts have shaped humanity with their achievements, and shows that if music programs can’t live up to those standards, we are doing future young people an injustice. He states that extensive research needs to be conducted on the quality of school music programs so children’s education can be enhanced in school, rather than replaced by outside programs.
What Fogel says resonates with me because I am an example of what has been happening to the music education programs in secondary school. As I cultivated my interest and advanced my skills on my instrument, I eventually surpassed what my school could offer and I was no longer challenged to improve. I had to look to outside programs such as MYSO to supplement what I should have been learning in school. The resources for music education are becoming smaller and the standards for music education are diminishing, resulting in missed opportunities to capture interest in children and further the benefits music has on society.
Although I was fortunate to have been introduced to music by my family, others students aren’t being introduced at all. This story has made me realize how widespread this issue has become and what needs to happen in order to change the future generations of music education. To further this article’s impact, I think that the author could have included stories of children whose lives have been transformed by great music programs and contrast to those who have had the opposite. This comparison would illustrate the positive influence music has and show what children are truly missing. Regardless, I am inspired to change school programs to be more like the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra to challenge students to strive for their greatest potential. I want to make a difference, and I want to do so by helping children build the foundation of qualities it takes to be successful, and most importantly, communicate the power of music.