In case you missed it, the Zionsville Middle School Drama Club put on the most amazing shows this past weekend, as they brought to life the musical called Once On This Island.
Audiences begged for encores.
And no wonder.
The kids worked for weeks on singing, dancing, light cues, sound cues, stage directions, make-up, costumes and more, all these things culminating in a dazzling display of charm, heartbreak, joy, tears and hope.
Of course, I’m biased, since all our sons had parts in the production, each part as different and unique as their personalities.
Take our introspective, organized, mature-beyond-his years son, for example. He controlled the sound board. The buttons, levers and switches he pulled with perfect timing could confound Microsoft’s Board of Directors.
Our audacious, outspoken, laughter-wielding son had a part on stage, singing and dancing in the spotlight.
And our sensitive, thoughtful, helper son had the part of a stage hand. Dressed in black from head-to-toe so he blended in with shadowy curtains and backdrops, he and his fellow stage hands make sure things on stage function perfectly for the stars and cast in the spotlight.
The analogy is rather obvious between all the folks it takes to pull off a magnificent stage performance and all the folks it takes to make the world go around. But what you might not realize is precisely how invaluable performances such as these are for the children participating, as well as for their futures.
March is Music in Our Schools Month. As such, organizations such as the National Association for Music Education (NAME) celebrate and promote the importance of making sure musical education and opportunities exist and thrive in schools. A play like Once On This Island is just one shining (and spectacular!) example of the benefits of musical education as underscored by recent research.
According to The Harris Poll, adults with more education and higher household incomes are more likely to have had music education. Singing, playing an instrument, and performing improve skills such as creative problem solving and being a team player. Music education enhances a person’s ability to strive for individual excellence in a group setting, as well as teaches the importance of working toward common goals. And, because a band, chorus and orchestra depends on everyone hitting the right notes, music education teaches kids how to maintain a disciplined approach to problem solving, as well as being flexible in work situations. (The Harris Poll® #112, November 12, 2007)
Robert Cray, American blues guitarist and five-time Grammy Award winner, explains more in his public service announcement for NAME:
“I don’t have to tell you that children face pretty tough challenges these days. It can be hard to keep them involved in their schoolwork. We adults need to make sure our kids find something in school that really sparks their interest…like music! Not only is music in school fun, but studies show that kids who learn music find science and math concepts easier to grasp, and that they show significant increases in self-esteem and thinking skills. And music and creativity go together, too. Your school music teacher can tell you all about it. So help prepare your children for life. Encourage them to learn to love music.”
This month, if you see a neighbor’s child walking home with a big (or small), black instrument case, ask them how they like music class and watch how their face lights up. Better yet, attend a local school music performance—they happen all the time.
Like Bono said, “Music can change the world because it can change people.”
Support music in our schools.
The world will be better because of it.
And you and I will be, too.