More and more parents are making the choice to home-school today, and we applaud that choice. We home-school our children as well. But many home-school children do not have the opportunity for instrumental or vocal music instruction. In North Thurston County alone, home-school students number at least 200, and this only reflects those that officially report their intent to home-school. So, I think it is important to address one of the reasons that we are here; to serve families that want music education for their children but don’t have the opportunity for them to receive it at home, or perhaps they want more.
I read a blog recently that discussed a few different scenarios of what subjects should be deemed essential or required for home-school. The list was a genuine effort and I don’t seek to disparage the effort. It did however not include music on the list until quite late down the road (around the middle school level). I realize that most home-school parents try to focus on what they or even the state and national education gurus consider to be essential. I also realize that parents will usually play to their strengths, which is wise. And this may mean not teaching music or the fine arts. This is a primary reason why we are here, and why we offer classes during the school day for home-school students.
My hope is to persuade you to this truth:
Music is everywhere, in most everything, and virtually inescapable.
By the way, even if music were not all over and we could avoid it, is music something we should want to escape? I certainly hope not!
Why should children study music?
Here is a short list of four simple reasons we think children should study music.
1. Because music is a necessary part of human existence and expression
For more details on this, read my post here. Bottom line: your children will express themselves, why not see to it that they learn to love and speak in a beautiful language and art form that allows healthy, honest, and valid expression.
2. Because the study of music is proven to develop young minds in such a way as to make the mind more ripe and able to learn other subjects, with measurable impact on their learning and earning (grades).
3. Because music plays a powerful role in the life of children, it will influence them, and ignoring this truth won’t change that fact.
Wouldn’t you rather your children learn the art of music, learn to understand and analyze the meanings and worldviews music expresses, so that they have the tools to truly understand what they hear?
4. Because the Miley factor will never go away.
I don’t have any research yet to show you here (but I intend to pursue this), so let’s call this a hunch based on observation throughout history and personal study of musicians and artists. Unless you have been living under a rock lately you have heard of Miley Cyrus and her recent performances, interviews, photo shoots, and videos. This is nothing new. Popular and commercial musicians have engaged in such extreme tactics for years, and this isn’t going to change. But here is my hunch:
Those that are trained in the arts to not only understand them, but to love and respect them will respect them as more than just a means to earn money, popularity, or success. Those that receive a genuine education in the arts learn to love art as something that is beyond them, serves others, and has a greater purpose than these. My theory is that the Miley factor is far less likely to happen among those learners, out of respect for music itself, the music community, and those the musician seeks to serve with their music.
Of course, even if your child studies music through school and never continues to make music after high school, the Miley factor is still important; they will remain ready to unpack the meaning and purpose behind such music.
 Aspire Middle School (The official North Thurston County collector of intent to home-school declaration forms) reported 192 children on September 16, 2013 but also stated that they usually end up in the 200’s by the end of the year.
 Arnaud., Cabanac, Leonid Perlovsky, Marie-Claude Bonniot-Cabanac, and Michel Cabanac. “Music and academic performance.” Behavioural Brain Research 256, no. 1 November 2013 (2013): 257–260.