This is a reprint of a story that originally appeared in Furness High School's publication Furness Falcon.
by BarbaraJean Chareunsack
Do you remember in second or third grade, when the school's music teachers would go to different classrooms and convince your class to try out for music? They would start you off with a recorder if you were interested in playing percussion or wind instruments. For string instruments, they would start you off with a violin to learn where to place your fingers. Or, do you remember having a music class at least once a week?
I remember all of this. The music teachers taught me how to play various instruments and read musical notes. It opened up a new world. Today, I can't live without music! What person can?! Seriously, I don't think I can go a day without singing, picking up an instrument, or listening to the melodies coming from my iPod or MP3s.
For two years, Furness had a music teacher, Mr. Miller. Furness students had an opportunity to perform in a choir, take guitar lessons, and learn how to read music. We also had a keyboard lab and learned how to create electronic music. Mr. Miller set a very high standard. Furness's talented students had a musical outlet. We had regular concerts, and in 2010-2011, three students made all-city choir. Unfortunately, after two years, Mr. Miller left Pennsylvania and the music position was cut.
Last year, when I was a junior, Ms. Coleman took over choir and Mr. Kasper taught guitar. It was not a full-time music program, but we still had music in our school. I was fortunate tenough to take guitar class as an elective. It was the only class where I could relax. Other students had choir and participated in a spring musical. This year, I am a senior and, because of School District cuts, music is not offered at Furness High School. No music in our school is a huge loss.
Why don't all schools have full-time art and music teachers and programs? Why doesn't a high school have a choir, band, and orchestra? Why don't we have instrumental music lessons? Vocal lessons? There is a lot of research on the connections between music and academic achievement. Music not only keeps students involved in school, but also might help us in other classes.
Earlier in the year, I asked our principal, Mr. Peou, "Where are the instruments?" and "What are you going to do with them?" He said that they were stored on the third floor, but he also said that if we don't use them, the School District would take them and give them to another school. Since then, the keyboards are gone.
When the school looks at its budget for 2013-2014, let's make sure music is restored to Furness. We still have guitars. We have talented singers. We have a piano. Let's find a way to have a dynamic music teacher. We have plenty of sports. We also need plenty of music.
BarbaraJean Chareunsack is a senior at Horace Howard Furness High School.
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