LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Don’t Cut Music From Highline Schools Budget
Dear Highline School Board,
I appreciate all you have done to improve arts education in Highline and hope you will continue to recognize the importance of these programs in our childrens’ education.
In spite of the economic difficulties we all face, I agree with others who have stated that Middle School music programs aren’t simply a bridge between elementary and high school programs, but the key to their very existence. We’ve learned throughout this district that if there is no strong choir or music program at the middle school program, that efforts at the elementary school level suffer, then languish, effectively making them targets for elimination. Lacking feeder students, the high schools lose reason for offering those programs. We have been incredibly fortunate that Pacific has had strong parental and district support for the full choir and instrumental programs, and that has fed into Mount Rainier’s successful music program. Of that, there’s little doubt, as quantified by the school’s entries into State level competitions and their fine accomplishments when they have had the chance to travel to competitions. Consider the music programs that feed into these high school’s achievements and realize that it is an infrastructure, not just a music class or two.
Pacific Middle School is a good example of how that momentum builds. Pacific Wind Ensembles have always had a full array of instrumentation including oboe, euphonium, bassoon, french horn or bass clarinet, instruments not normally introduced at the elementary level. Those opportunities have led to high scores in competiton as well as forming the framework for the renowned Mount Rainier High School band. Pacific’s insistence upon moving kids into different levels of instruction on a variety of instruments has directly resulted in Pacific perenially receiving the highest ratings in every competition they pursue and again, fed into Mount Rainier’s successful program. One of the students whom my daughter met in band in 7th grade has recently earned a spot with the US Marine Corp band; an honor accorded very few individuals nationwide.
Music is integral to the learning process and many studies have shown that children exposed to classical music show a greater ability to learn than those who are not exposed to that same environment. Music enhances learning and in this generation our students need every advantage possible for them to compete globally.
Please look at other areas where the budget can be cut; I am sure that a good accountant could point out a number of areas that would make a significant difference.
Thank you for supporting our children and their future.
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