Sunday, January 30, 2005

Art + Commerce = A Good Thing, In This Case

I read a good article in the DMN today about Bruce Orr, a former advertising executive who founded the nonprofit Social Marketing Resource Center, whose Texas Music Project has produced a series of CD's entitled Don't Mess With Texas Music (in two volumes) and Don't Mess With la Musica de Tejas. All the music has been donated to the project by 57 artists all having Texas connections of some sort. TMEA is a major partner in the project, and the CD's are available at most Starbucks locations in the state.

It was really heartening to see someone from the business world give a great amount of credit to music education in his own development. My favorite question from the interview:
Did music make you a better CEO?
Clearly. Probably in lots of ways I don't know. The research is clear: music education enhances all other learning systems in the body and the mind. It contributes to increases and better performances in math, through better understanding of fractions, and reading.
Students who participate in band perform in higher levels of interesting and creative problem-solving. It helps keep people in school, and while they are there, they develop a tolerance for other nationalities.
I'd say the usual "read the whole thing," but the location on the DMN website where the article should be leads only to a blank page...but try clicking it anyway--maybe it's fixed by now.

As I've said before, music education does provide a certain set of benefits to the student which can't be replicated in traditional subject-matter classes. However, it's easy for people to lose sight of this fact when they're about to swing the budget-cutting axe in the favor of a "back-to-basics" approach. Though business and the arts sometimes mix like oil and water, it's great to see someone from the business world championing music education in such a big way. To revive an old TMEA (I think) catchphrase, music is basic in Texas (and everywhere else, for that matter).

Weekend updates: The first few weeks of school took me away from the computer even more than usual, but this weekend has been a good time to catch up. I have finally made comments to James's political post on American Australian Fun (and also Divulged twice while Blogging Down Under), and even more shockingly, made a new post on the TD/D blog about a good possibility of the band's awakening from its winter hibernation. And in an even more shocking development, I plan to work on my transcription tonight...

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "If you love some instrument, if you like the sound of it, it's like no other sound. It's really yours. It comes from deep within, and it's something you can always connect with inside. How good can that be? Your music, your sound--it's your friend for life. You can express how you feel, send yourself into the larger world. You will always have that voice. That's a pretty powerful thing."--cellist Yo-Yo Ma, in today's Parade Magazine. This really was a good Sunday paper as far as music is concerned.

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