Why every child should have an education in music


Hot cross buns.


Three words, many meanings. A delicious treat to many of us. The start of our glorious music education for those who remember. 


Folks who grew up in Ontario may remember attending music class in their early years of schooling. Many of us studied acronyms to memorize reading the treble clef, played hot cross on a recorder till our teacher’s eye started twitching. Looking back, it’s easy to dismiss that these little activities played any significant role in our lives.


Maybe for some of us, they didn’t.


But it’s not fair to dismiss our music education as irrelevant on that ground alone. In fact, I’d argue there’s value in having gone through these exercises even if they became outdated tidbits of information as we move forward in life.


How can you know something isn’t up your alley without trying it? How could we reduce childhood what-ifs without opening our children up to new experiences – even if we don’t know if they’ll like them?


For this reason among many, I’m inclined to say that every child should have some education in music. 


When music class became part of your daily schedule at school, maybe you hated it. It’s not straightforward like math class, there’s no fun writing like in English class. But you still went  (yes, I know, only because you had to), and now you know it’s not your thing. 


Knowing you’re not a “music person” is arguably a great thing, especially as a teenager. At that point in life, you’re going through the phase where you’re still figuring out your identity, and now you know music isn’t a part of it. 


One dislike figured out, thousands of more to go.


On the flip side, there are people who step into music class and find a part of themselves they hadn’t known existed before. They seize another piece of the puzzle that is their identity and carry it forward with them even when they move onto the next chapter of their life. 


Music class can also be a safe haven for some students. When things around you are just not working out, it can be relieving to fall back to the familiarity of a soft melody or gentle harmony.  


I remember how much I loved learning to play the piano in class as a kid. Although there were some days where I didn’t feel like going to school and dealing with another math class, I always found myself excited to get to music class. It was an anchor through the dizzying storms of other subjects, and I would cling onto it in the midst of every academic hurricane. 


Music class won’t click for everyone. It may never be relevant for some folks throughout the entirety of their lives – but at least they’ll never get hung up about knowing if they could have done more within the subject. 


For others, those basic music classes in elementary school were the catalyst to a completely different future where instruments and singing decorate each cornerstone of their lives. 


If an education in music can help us develop even the slightest bit of a clearer understanding of ourselves, it’s worth the time and effort. After all, for each shot you don’t take, you’ll always wonder if you could have made it – or if truly wanted to.

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