Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Art and Quality of Life

I have been feeling stressed out lately, an issue with Max, fighting with my husband, over-worrying, two small stubborn children. I've been feeling a little crazy.

Last night I had a guitar lesson and as I sat there with my instructor working to find the right key for me to sing "Away In the Manger" as I played the guitar, I could feel my blood pressure lowering. The more I played the more relaxed I became. By the time I left I felt at peace, in balance...hopeful.

By no stretch of the imagination am I a great guitar player. I'm not even a really good guitar player but I enjoy it. I enjoy the act of doing it. For no one but myself.

As I was driving home I was thinking about art and music in general. If I had not had music in elementary and middle school would I be able to pick up an instrument at my age and feel I was able to do it? Hadn't the music literacy I received in my education helped me be able to enjoy playing and participating now? Hadn't my quality of life been enhanced by music education?

I think this is a good argument for the importance of art in public education. Yes, everyone should learn the basics. Yet, I feel so many people would also find life more worth living if they could touch their inner artist, whether it be visual or performance art; music or dance; watching or doing. How will they find the path to the arts if it doesn't start in education? It seems that the worth of everything taught in public schools needs to be measured but how can the enjoyment I experienced last night, decades after leaving public school, be measured?

1 comment:

Linda Kerr said...

Good for you. Music is genetic I'm sure. Your love of music is your kids' love of music. I studied flute for many years and also find that when I play my world changes. Music opens a different side to us all. Did you know in many European countries taking Pianos is part of basic music class? I think all kids should learn an instrument.