First, I’d like to encourage all seven you read this blog regularly to consider the Slice of Life Challenge. Those who participate will blog for 31 days straight and comment on three other bloggers, each one of those days as well. It’s a tough 31 days because last year, I was writing at all hours of the night, but it’s worth it to be able to say, “Yup, I did this!” I’m not writer, and the drivel I put out here backs that claim up, but I need to practice for my students, and when they see what I’ve done, it shows them practice is needed for all writers!
Both of my daughters have been “fine arts nerds”. 🙂 Both have played in the band, sang in the choir, have participated in large group speech (all-state recognition for my oldest), and individual speech (two division I rating, qualifying my youngest daughter to perform at the state competition). We are a family that values those traits that fine arts brings to the table: to perform, to talk in front of people, and to deal with failure.
Our oldest daughter participated in Varieties at Iowa State, a Greek talent show of sorts where they have to write their own plays, score their own music, and find people to play it. She and her boyfriend (in a frat) had a lot of fun doing it, and their group finished second overall, and won the audience choice award, meaning the audience picked them as first. My daughter said, “It’s like winning the popular vote, but losing the electoral college!”
This past week, from last Tuesday through today, we’ve seen our youngest daughter play in the band, sing in the choir, sing a solo during a montage of songs by Rogers and Hammerstein, and perform in two individual speech events, the solo musical theatre and storytelling. In the musical theatre, she performed “I Know Things Now” from the musical Into The Woods and read the book Alexander and the Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I got to see both at our conference speech competition, and she did ok, but not to the standard she set for herself. The district competition, some great comments from the judges and the chance to compete at the state level because of her improvement!
My question: These types of activities build self-esteem, confidence, and offer an outlet for those students who don’t “do” school very well. Why must they continue to be cut and marginalized in our communities? I won’t bore you with the statistics of how fine arts students compare because I feel like I’m preaching to the choir (Ha!), but these types of activities are essential to the development of a well rounded student. Why not make two years of music mandatory? We make PE mandatory, why not music? English and music, hand in hand!
We have an amazing fine arts program in our school. Our band directors, choir directors, our art teachers, speech coaches, all of them are able help our students see the tremendous talent that they have. I will be forever thankful to their influence in the lives of my daughters, because not only do they teach, I know they’ve had a hand in making my daughters better people.
And I cannot ask anything more than that.