But, by the time they get to high school, only twenty per cent of students are still involved in traditional school music programs. What happens to the other eighty percent? Have they simply ceased to be musical?
Last night the Howard County Board of Education took a moment to recognize someone who cares deeply about the other eighty percent. This guy:
Yes, that's my husband, Richard McCready. He teaches Music Technology at River Hill High School. He's also the Music Technology Facilitator for the county, so he has been working to get music tech labs up and running in all of the high schools. He writes curriculum, evaluates software, troubleshoots glitches, and travels from school to school supporting other teachers.
But most of all, he is a teacher in his own classroom. He meets his students where they are, and designs lessons and projects to meet their needs and to challenge them to move forward. Music Technology is a growing field, and one could truthfully say that students are learning valuable, marketable skills in these classes.
But the skills aren't just in handling equipment and software. His students work on both research and self-reflection, positive evaluation of peers, collaboration, problem solving, divergent thinking, creativity and self-expression, flexibility, listening, positive self-concept. Tools for life.
The photo above was snapped by his proud father at the meeting yesterday. It will be a wonderful way to remember the joy of that moment. But I want to leave you with another, equally important portrait, left by a student on the classroom whiteboard:
Earlier in the week I was actively seeking some good news, because I was having a serious shortage at my end. Well, here is some good news: a teacher who has a dream to reach out and include more students in the joy of making music, and a school system that allows that to become a reality.
It's a win-win-win. And we could all use a bit more of those.