A key part to the empowerment of a community is education. As an Interdisciplinary Studies student, I am always trying to identify and study the ways that performing arts (music, theatre, and dance) can be used to empower communities. Throughout my experience, I have often heard that music helps us learn, but I never knew how. So I got to wondering, how does music help students learn? Does this mean that there is a link between music education/integration and empowerment of our communities?
The short answer is yes- but don’t take it from me! I interviewed music educators, musicians, psychology majors, and people who had music as a part of their lives. The video posted below is their own words about why music is important in our schools!
*Be sure to play the video on the highest quality available by editing the video settings*
However, educational success isn’t the only reason why music is important to have in our schools and communities. There are also developmental, spiritual, physical, and emotional benefits to music. For more information, check out my article Music, the Brain, and Why it Matters.
In addition to answering my first question “How does music help us learn?” I learned many things through my interviews and video-making adventures. First, I learned how important music is to the holistic human experience. It was almost impossible to view music through only one lens. Even though the interviews were conducted around questions of music education/integration in our public schools and communities, the interviewees couldn’t help but talk about the holistic importance of music in their lives.
This project has inspired me to continue exploring the impact of music on humans, through the many different and interconnected lenses.
I also learned how challenging it is to work with movie-making programs! Although the research and stories I discovered while making this video were incredible, I truly feel as though the process was much better than the product. I felt like as soon as I had figured out how to get around a barrier that got in my way, another one appeared. There were many elements that I felt like I couldn’t control including the quality of the video, the editing imperfections, and many of the slides and captions. On this project, I probably spent about 30% of my time doing the research and conducting interviews, and 70% of the time trying to figure out the editing and putting it all together! Although this was definitely a difficult, frustrating process, I’m sure that creating videos is something I will continue to do as a part of my advocacy work! Therefore, practicing these skills will be beneficial to my future!
If I was to do this project all over again, I’d definitely say that my biggest strengths are that I am very open-minded and able to step into the shoes of others. Therefore, I was able to make a personal connection to everyone that I interviewed, which allowed the project to be as authentic as possible. One major thing that I would like to improve would be to make my video more inclusive of all audience members by using embedded subtitles. Although my technological skills need some work before I can make that happen, I am absolutely willing to learn! Also, I was unable to interview any Music Psychologists, as the interviewee I had scheduled couldn’t get his laptop to connect to WiFi, and then didn’t have the means to send me his material. I would definitely love to include an interview from a professional from that important discipline in regards to this topic.
Lastly, I learned that the time to act is NOW! Over 80% of school districts in the US since 2008 have experienced budget cuts (Boyd, 2014). It’s time to start talking about it, and acting on it! Please share this video, and help other people get the information to join the movement…
and I’ll see you at the next public school talent show or choir concert!