Friday, May 6, 2016

Building Instrumental Music Education in Saint Paul, Minnesota

Regarding the proposed cuts in the Saint Paul Public Schools Budget:
Instrumental Music programs are a major draw in attracting students to schools. With the increased fracturing of public education through school choice, we have endued up with a lot of little mediocre schools vying for the same money and ultimately offering the same limited classes (with a non union teaching force and larger class sizes). Worse yet, In practically every case for these schools, instrumental music programs are left out. The financial burden for those who acknowledge the benefits of instrumental music education is pushed onto those parents who can afford it. Those who cannot are robbed of equal access to what was once considered a necessary component of a complete education.
Now, I imagine most St. Paul Public School facilities still have a suitable band/orchestra room and auditorium, This places them in the BEST position to attract and retain students who value a high quality education. 
When we consider the broader arts and music tradition community in the Twin Cities metropolitan area which boasts two (2) world renown symphony orchestras, thriving Choral and Jazz traditions, a pop music scene in which it seems practically every other person is in a band, a 24 hour Jazz and Classical radio stations, -- need I even mention the recent loss of our own public schooled artist, Prince? 
The Twin CIties should be embracing our music heritage and encouraging our music programs. New Orleans, Memphis, and Davenport, Iowa, are not the only cities renown for Music on the Mississippi - The Twin Cities are at its Headwaters. 
There is a ready market for Music Education waiting to be tapped by the St. Paul School Systems. Re-build the music programs, put your marketing expertise to good use and the SPPS will grow again.

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