"Art can transform lives. It gives us the power to question, to confront, to explore and to challenge how we think about the world."
When I was in first grade, I received a kidney transplant with the live donor being my mom, because both my kidneys were failing. Due to this, I have never been able to play contact sports, such as basketball, football or soccer. I played baseball a few years, but there was something about Music and Theater that interested me. In third and fourth grade, I was accepted in the lead role both years for plays that I auditioned for at the school. Following that, I joined choir in fifth grade. That year, I was asked by the high school show choir to perform a song with them during their Christmas concert, with me as a soloist. I was inspired to continue choir all through middle school and go on to join the show choir in high school. I still played baseball all the way until my freshman year of high school, when my dad told me that I had to give whatever I did 100 percent and I would have to chose show choir or baseball. Well, I didn't have to think about it much. I chose show choir. Due to the relationship I have with the choir director, her influence in my life, and my true love for music, I chose to attend Marshall University to become a music educator.
This was the end pose in my final show choir competition during my senior year of high school.
When I perform on stage, I become a completely different person in the way I feel and act. I am happiest when I am on stage performing. There's nothing like the thrill of being on stage in front of hundreds of people and being able to just give everything I have to them and tell them a story through a song or script. If I was never introduced so strongly to music and acting, I would've never went to school for it. I would have never found that extra side to me that can only be shown when I'm in my third place, the stage. For many years now, people have been saying that music, art, and theater should not be a part of core curriculum and should not be taught in public schools. Personally, I think that statement is completely false and I have evidence to prove it.
Chernin, Megan. “Art in Action.” Https://www.pinterest.com/Myartinaction/Art-and-Artist-Quotes/, www.pinterest.com/myartinaction/art-and-artist-quotes/.
Visual arts are forms of art including drawing, painting, ceramics, crafts, photography and film making. The arts teach differently from other school subjects. Chira said, "The arts demand student involvement and appeals to kids who learn better by doing rather than reading." (n.p.) Research has found that children learn best when they are active and not passive. This means that when the kids are involved such as drawing or making ceramics while the teacher is doing it as well rather than taking notes on how to do it. For this reason, Chira said, "Many educators in the arts program and not believe that art can serve as a model for educational change." (n.p.)
A critic of the arts program says, "art education favors those who are artistically talented and are not giving equal opportunity." (Chira n.p.) I feel that critics like this are bringing up problems that don't exist to try and help create trouble for the art program. Even though these critics are trying to put their stamp on art education, a change is being made in New York City for improvements and more influence of the arts with "Museum Schools." These schools will teach knowledge about museums, how to appreciate art, and how to create art like what is found in museums.
On another side, a study was done by two well known authors in the year 2000 and those two individuals said that art classes do not improve students overall academic performance. They got a large amount of criticism for that statement and released a book seven years later that argued for the art program while still sticking to their original statement. According to Pogrebin, "They feel that people need to change what is being argued for the arts program. They think with what is being said right now the arts will eventually fail because people are saying it helps with other subjects, that are core classes and they think that will be fixed by just getting better curriculum for those core classes and still keep the money away from the art program. They instead concluded in saying that visual arts classes teach kids to see better, to envision, to persist, to be playful and learn from mistakes, and to make and justify critical judgements".
Theater is probably one of the least understood arts programs through people who don't know much about it. However, it takes more extracurricular hours outside of school compared to art and music. Theater can teach a large number of things and has grown very popular in the last couple of decades. "Theater teaches hard work." (Chira). One example of how theater has created great prominence among children is in Miami, Florida. Children from the poorest neighborhoods and the riches to come together and practice at a theater company. It is shown that all of the children are doing better on average, showing that it doesn't matter what your social class is, it's about what you spend your time doing. When everyone has come together and practiced for a play or show, everything that happens outside of that theater goes away and everyone is equal. I think this is one of the most special qualities about theater and the arts programs in general. It is hard to tell what those students would be into, if they didn't have the theater, seeing as how Miami has a large crime rate among teens. Just think of what art could change for these communities across the entire country.
A stage that is set for a theater program.
Out of the three main arts' programs, music is the one that is closest to me. There are many benefits of music education. One of those are that "Music advances learning in other subjects and enhances skills that children use in other areas, such as making children use multiple skill sets at the same time like using the eyes, ears, and large and small muscles." (Brown n.p.) The two main subjects that are shown to have a positive increase is Math and English; with increased language development. The Children's Music Workshop group says, "recent studies show that musical training physically develops part of the left side of the brain known for processing language and can help wire children's brains better." (n.p.) A study was published by professional music education professor Christopher Johnson revealing that elementary schools with superior music programs have students scoring 22 percent higher on English tests and 20 percent higher on math standardized tests, regardless of socioeconomic status, which brings me to my next point.
Music programs are tightening the gap between high income families and low income families. "UCLA did a study and found that music gave even higher advantages to children in low income families, giving them a two times more likely chance of performing at their highest level in other subjects." (Barnes n.p) Music also sparks interest in students and allows them to get hands on experience and explore talents that they might not otherwise know they have. This might be the only time that they get to express these talents which causes kids to have a higher rate of going to and finishing school. "Research shows that music improves cognitive and non-cognitive skills two times better than sports." (Barnes n.p.)
There was a study done by E. Glenn Schellenberg at the University of Toronto. "The study compared a group of six year old children who were given piano and voice lessons for approximately one year to a group of six year old children who were given no music instruction at all. The findings show that on average, the children who got the lessons were more than 3 I.Q. points higher than the group who had no instruction.
The results of that study could be a complete hoax, but if you think about the difference that it could make, it isn't something that should be taken lightly. The kids who took the lessons, not only had to discipline themselves to multiple hours of instruction instead of television or play time, but they also had to take discipline from an instructor and was able to gain skills of listening better to professionals. Although the difference isn't a large one, there is definitely a positive reason to giving kids heavy musical influence.
Not Just For Children
The arts program has many benefits and not very many bad qualities. It is helping children get out of the street, helping to inspire children to do things that people wouldn't think was possible of them, improving children's grades which is helping them for the rest of their lives, and even helping others who aren't children, such as the man that is featured in the video I have included. Music has completely changed my life as well as many other lives. There is a large community of singers, band kids, and people who just like making music. These people won't sit back and let the children of tomorrow not have a chance to find a side of their selves that they won't find in anything else. This isn't just found because of music, but because of visual arts and theater as well which allows kids to express themselves in ways they normally wouldn't.
There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that shows how the arts program is helping children for the future. There is too much to ignore. If someone is going to try and take away arts programs from school, they have a big fight ahead of them. Unfortunately, in some areas that aren't funded as well as others, programs are being affected and in turn, there are children being stripped of the opportunity to unleash a side of them that could change their lives. It is time to stop taking away the opportunity and time to give more opportunity to students.
1. Joseph, AnnRene. School of Education Johns Hopkins University The Value of the Arts to theCommunity and Education, John Hopkins School of Education, Sept. 2002.http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/strategies/topics/Arts%20in%20Education/joseph.htm. John Hopkins University is creating documents on why the arts is important in k-12 education and has come up with an acronym of CPR learning, which means creating, performing, and responding. There is a great quote by George W. Bush, saying that the arts is the unifying force in society and as a vehicle for individual expression. The Arts define and celebrate all aspects of our lives. The Arts are the universal language that communicates to all people. There is a quote by a reputable author by the name of Eric Jensen and he says that the most significant learning occurs when emotions are integrated with instructions because all body systems are united. He goes on to say that with linking emotions, students are more likely to remember something. Dance, music, theatre, and visual arts activities enhance our communities through museums, theatres, concert halls, and galleries. Private lessons and instruction, tutoring, and before and after school arts activities, celebrate the artistic interests, strengths, talents, and skills of eager learners. Educationally, the arts define our students and their creativity. "Every child is an artist. The challenge is to remain an artist after you grow up."
2. Ruppert, Sandra. Critical Evidence: How the ARTS Benefit Student Achievement. Washington, D.C., National Assembly of State Arts Agencies in Collaboration with the Arts Education Partnership, 2006. http://www.nasaa-arts.org/Publications/critical-evidence.pdf. In 1994, Congress enacted the Goals 2000: Educate America Act which identified the arts a part of core curriculum for the first time. A poll taken in 2005 of the public’s opinion on the arts education showed that 93 percent agree that the arts are vital to children having a well rounded education, 86 percent say that it helps kids attitudes toward school, and 83 percent say that it helps teach children to communicate effectively with other students and adults. No Child Left Behind reaffirms the arts as a “core academic subject” that all schools should teach. It puts the arts on equal footing with the other designated core subjects: English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, history and geography. And it paves the way for the arts to be recognized both as a serious subject in its own right and as a part of a proven strategy to improve student performance in the other core subjects. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, as described by the U.S. Department of Education, is “the most sweeping reform of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act since it was enacted in 1965.” With strong bipartisan support from Congress, President George W. Bush signed NCLB into law on January 8, 2002. Students who participate in arts learning experiences often improve their achievement in other realms of learning and life. In a well-documented national study using a federal database of over 25,000 middle and high school students, researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles found students with high arts involvement performed better on standardized achievement tests than students with low arts involvement. Moreover, the high arts-involved students also watched fewer hours of TV, participated in more community service and reported less boredom in school.
3. Brown, Laura Lewis. “The Benefits of Music Education.” PBS, PBS, 2003, www.pbs.org/parents/education/music-arts/the-benefits-of-music-education/. This article shows that children who are involved with very strong music programs in their elementary schools, have better test grades, social development, language development, stronger brains and higher I.Q.’s. It highlights many studies that have been done by professionals in neuroscience, music education, and child development to back up her claim. Also shows that these advantages are much stronger, if there is a musical background at home from a very early age. She says music must be reinforced, practiced and celebrated to truly get the advantages at an early age. Studies were also done with brain imaging, showing that there was more activity in the brains of kids who were given a 15 week music instruction. Overall, this article helps highlight the benefits of music education in school and at home.
4.Barnes, Tom. “The Scientific Reasons We Should Teach Music to Kids in School.” Mic, 25 Oct.2015,mic.com/articles/94992/the-scientific-reasons-we-should-teach-music-to-kids-in-school#.xOEybi6gW. This article shows scientific reasons why music should be taught and how it can improve other subjects. Math is aided because it uses the same parts of the brain that it takes to solve complex problems. It also helps in language development and the working memory. It also highlights how low income families can benefit from it and tighten the gap of differences with low and high incomes. One thing that is shown in this article that makes it unique, is how music is helping elderly people who have dementia and have given up on life until they hear the music and become their old selves.
5. Smith, Fran. “Why Arts Education Is Crucial, and Who's Doing It Best.” Edutopia, George Lucas Educational Foundation, 28 Jan. 2009, www.edutopia.org/arts-music-curriculum-child-development. This article shows what has been happening in arts education and how we can make it better, and how different cities and states are changing things so that children get some art education every week. It also tells about the No Child Left Behind program, which has been upgraded greatly in the last few years through the arts programs at schools. It tries to focus on every student to get them into something that they will like. In Dallas, a coalition of arts advocates, educators, and business leaders have worked for years to get arts into all schools in the Dallas public school system. Finally, for the first time in 30 years in that city, every child gets at least 45 minutes of arts and music education every week. It also shows that art can not only improve the brain and help with other subjects, but that is can improve motivation, concentration, confidence and teamwork. They also say that the arts help tighten the gap between lower income students and higher income students.
6. FL, Jacourie C. Orlando. “Why Music &Amp; Arts Should Be Kept In Public Schools.” Teen Opinion Essay, Teen Ink, www.teenink.com/opinion/school_college/article/192213/Why- Arts-Should-Be-Kept-In-Public-Schools/. This website is full of articles that are only written by teens. This individual is showing how the arts helps children and why it would be devastating to children. She goes as far to say that getting rid of the arts programs, would be robbing the youth of a gift that will be at their disposal for the rest of their lives. She adds that students who are in extracurricular art classes such as theater, choir or band get in less trouble and have higher grades. She quotes a man that she knew at one time that “idle hand commit crimes” and by giving kids extracurricular activities, makes them not only want to come to school more but also stay off the streets because they are busy with something they love doing.
7. Hershenson, Roberta. “Keeping Theater Alive in the Schools.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 30 May 1992, www.nytimes.com/1992/05/31/nyregion/keeping-theater-alive-in-the-schools.html. The arts programs aren’t always funded and in recent years has been pushed out for other things that administrators think are more important. However, there is a program that goes to a school and works with kids in theater classes and then selects a few plays to perform for them and even has the kids write plays of their own. There is one girl that said she had never seen a play before and it really inspired her to work and see plays and it allowed her to think about things that are very important in today’s culture. The theater company that came to the school and brought the actor to help and teach these children were in their third year doing the program, but they are only able to reach a couple of schools because of costs, and with the downturn of funds for the arts, it hurts the chances of the program ever expanding.
8. Pogrebin, Robin. “Book Tackles Old Debate: Role of Art in Schools.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 3 Aug. 2007, www.nytimes.com/2007/08/04/arts/design/04stud.html. This article is all about how we should be talking about the arts across the country. Everyone that is advocating for the arts is trying to get their point across by showing how it can help with other subjects and that is what is mostly out there for research. Two authors and professors believed that we need to stop talking how we are about the arts and focus on what it really does in the classroom. They initially said that art classes do not improve students overall academic performance. They got a lot of backlash for this statement, so they got together and came out with a book that explains what they were saying. They said that if we keep talking about the arts like we have been that administrators are just going to increase math and other core subjects. They did a study where they went to multiple schools of all levels across the country and observed art and music teachers for a few weeks and found that the arts teaches kids to see better, to envision, to persist, to be playful and learn from mistakes, and to make and justify critical judgements.
9. Metla, Valeriya. “School Art Programs: Should They Be Saved? - Law Street (TM).” Law Street (TM), Law Street Media, 25 July 2016, lawstreetmedia.com/issues/education/cutting-art-programs-schools-solution-part-problem/. Art education is an important aspect of childhood development. It also can pave the way for a child’s academic and future success as a professional. While the picture is not that great across the nation, with non-profits, communities, teachers, private individuals, and states are already creating a wave of change, moving from thinking art education is easily gotten rid of to seeing the benefits. The recent development of National Core Arts Standards is a good step, with Common Core Standards hopefully bringing arts back to the classroom.
10. Chira, Susan. “Creativity vs. Academic Study: How Should Schools Teach Arts?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 3 Feb. 1993, www.nytimes.com/1993/02/04/theater/creativity-vs-academic-study-how-should-schools-teach-arts.html?pagewanted=all. This article posted in the New York Times describes how art and theater teaches children differently. It shows how it demands student involvement. It says that it appeals more to the kids who learn by doing rather than just listening and watching a teacher do it. Many educators believe that art can serve as a model for educational change. They believe kids learn best when they are active and not passive. Art allows students who are normally shy, to be able to express themselves and tell stories through drawing and making models. There are schools in New York City being made such as a museum school which will teach students art and teach them what a museum is and how to interpret art. A critic of art class however says that art classes only favor children who are artistically talented. They want art to become more discipline related and teach the history and academics of art, making it less interesting.
My community includes all the people who love to perform on stage. These people could be performing an instrument, be in choir, theater, or a combination of all three. This community is very unique, because it is a place and group of people that most people wouldn’t think of as a community. It is made up of all sorts of people. It includes people who like to perform, people who are outgoing, class clowns, jocks, music people, nerds, and people who are shy. It is one of the only places in the world that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you have come from. I have grown up my entire life performing and singing. I became very strong in it when I joined the show choir during my freshman year of high school. I danced, sang, and performed in musicals during my four years in high school. I have always been more of a shy person, but when I get on stage, I feel like another side of me comes out and I feel completely comfortable. I am truly in my third place and I think that everyone else in my community agrees. I have included a selection of pictures that shows myself performing with my show choir in high school, a picture that I took from the stage earlier in the day before we performed, a picture of a famous theater that shows the history and magnitude of hard work that went into building this magnificent place, and lastly I am including a picture of one of the trophies we won at a competition, standing five feet high.
Theater where we performed three years in a row.
Bohbot, Frank. “Paramount Theatre .” RSVLTS, Joe Cucci, Oakland , 21 Feb. 2014, www.rsvlts.com/2014/02/21/a-celebration-of-classic-movie-theaters-12-hq-photos/.
One of many trophies won my senior year!
There are many objectives that my advocacy project fulfills. The first objective that I have fulfilled, is that I have the ability to form solid research questions based around our theme. The theme of our class has been community and I have been able to use a community that is close to me, the arts community to formulate questions and research for my community. The second thing I have been able to fulfill is the ability to put myself into public conversation when talking about the decline of the arts programs in schools and what people are doing to help. I have the ability to find and search through research to find what people are saying for and against my claim, such as the annotated bibliography and the ability to put in information from them. Next, I have the ability to analyze the stylistic conventions and rhetorical patterns. I also have the ability to inquire into and reflect on research I have found and be able to think critically about it. I also think I do well with understanding the importance of grammar, mechanics, and careful proofreading for effective communication.
I think that one of my strengths in formulating a research project, is the ability to find research that is for and against my topic and find reputable sources and really pick out the important information. I think this is very important in forming a good research paper. Of course, this is not the only thing that someone has to be good at. One way that I struggle in the research process is that I am not always great with using big words that make me sound like I know what I am talking about. I also do not do very great with knowing where punctuation goes like where to place a comma. I do believe I am getting better however. Overall, the entire writing process has strengthened my ability to formulate good research papers.