Music at School
(Japanese Textbook in Music for 6th Graders)
I was way too naive when my oldest son started to go to school at the age of 5. I thought everything would be fine, only from my experience back in Japan, as long as he attended some public school. Soon enough I figured out I was totally WRONG!! What makes me say that is, first of all, “music (class).”
The Japanese takes it for granted that they know how to read music at Kindergarten level. They know clefs, keys, sharp, flat, major, minor, and you name it. All through their school years (K-12), they “study” music at (public) school. They gain knowledge and have to take quizzes at elementary level and midterms/finals at middle and high school level even if they are not to major in music at college. Their skills in musical instruments are tested and considered as a part of their grades given.
(All Kinds of Music Textbooks for Middle Schoolers)
I had to face the fact for the first time in my life that US public schools don’t teach students music. I was shocked to learn from my son that students repeat and repeat what their music teacher sing and learn a song (!?). Am I in a primitive age?
(Workbook for Elementary School Students)
(Third Grader’s Music)
At middle school level, there are even national music composition contests. That means most middle schoolers can not only read music but also write music. I am not bragging about the Japanese high standard in education. For the Japanese, that is quite normal. They know all the famous composers in the past and present as a common sense, which happens only to those who are wealthy in US. US public school students are deprived of real music, ending up believing they enjoy music, which is actually nothing better than annoying trashy sound. Sad.
Everyone doesn’t have to be a musician, but has to have some knowledge about music. Music teachers are supposed to cultivate a musical sense at their early stage at school. In this country, however, the local governments have to spend a lot more tax money on hiring decent music teachers for their districts.
True music can heal. Music is not a drug. True music doesn’t exacerbate your feelings. Music is bliss gifted by the God. I hope someone from a local school district will finally wake up and do something good for children in his district. Do you think I am still naive?
I can teach you music and Japanese at once!