I grew up in the Texas music education system, went to music school at Indiana University, and have been teaching music for the past few years. These are some thoughts that have been roaming my mind lately. I share them in hopes that you share similar feelings. It's helpful for people to see that others are on their side.
What if kids learned to make the music they listen to?
What if kids weren't forced to follow a strict curriculum?
What if kids could learn to compose and arrange music in school?
What if kids could create their own bands with the support of their teachers?
What if music festivals featured 6th-12th grade artists?
What if high school fight songs were remixed by their students?
What if a 7th grader composed a piece and her band played it? Imagine how empowered she would feel.
What if kids less interested in performance could contribute by arranging and composing?
What if kids that can't sit still were allowed to make dance music?
What if results weren't measured with "1st Divisions" but with smiles from the audience?
What if kids weren't looking to beat other schools at a music competition, but wanted to collaborate with them?
What if music students traded etudes for remixes?
What if bands had guitar players not only in their jazz bands?
What if the star athletes looked up to the star musicians at their schools?
What if schools employed as many music teachers as coaches?
What if music education didn't emphasize excellence and competition, but instead fostered creativity, enthusiasm, and community?
What are your “what ifs”? How can you make it happen?