For as long as I can remember, music has been in my life beginning with violin lessons that I began at the age of four. As I got older, it seemed natural to me that I would continue to play the violin, even though I secretly hoped to play the piano. It led me to be a member of my high school orchestra for four years. Without this first hand experience, I do not think that I would have the same appreciation for the arts, and especially for music. While I will always hope to have music in my life, many young people are not given the opportunity to find that love of music.
The music program at Whitefish High School is incredible, especially with teachers like Jenanne Solberg and Mark McCrady who teach band and orchestra. The disheartening part is the fact that many students around the nation are not given that same opportunity to experience music and feel what it feels like to actually hold and learn to play an instrument. For me, it has helped shape my life.
Music and art programs are very often at the top of the list when the school board decides to make budget cuts. Too many people believe that the arts are not fundamental to a child’s learning, but they truly are. The most valued subjects, for years have been math, science, English, and history. It is not to say that those are of less importance, but only that they are of equal importance and music and art should be just as celebrated. The society that speaks of changing the way school is taught cannot seem to acknowledge that music nurtures creativity and therefore young minds that are brought up in that creativity could be given opportunities that they may not have seen, that will enable them to succeed, not only in the arts, but in their other areas of study as well. The failure comes when students who are creative and brilliant are overlooked because their talents don’t necessarily lie in the field of mathematics.
Many times there is a disastrous cycle that perpetuates the failure of music programs and that is the way those classes are presented and taught. So many students do not see music as something they want to do or they only do it because it is an easy grade. Music teachers and art teachers are either not valued by the school board and their program is cut or, in the worst case, there is not a teacher willing to really dedicate themselves to the students. Fortunately, that is not the case at Whitefish High School. Somehow, we were given incredible music teachers who have sacrificed so much in the name of music and in the name of their students.
My life will be forever changed by music especially with the guidance of those willing to teach like Mrs. Jenanne Solberg, my orchestra teacher. She has helped nurture a love for the arts in me, and so many others allowing us to realize the beauty and value of music. I am sure I am not the only one who sees the value in harnessing the power of the arts and hopefully the rest of the world will one day realize that as well.
Annie Howeth is a senior at Whitefish High School.