Should primary education require students to learn an instrument (aka guitar, high school band, etc)

@CarlCravens i wish somebody'd made me learn to music while it might have stood a chance of working and am completely unable to square this with my general feeling that forcing kids into this kind of activity (the way so many of my peers were forced into sports, band, chorus, etc.) is a bad time.

...or maybe what i wish is that music-making had been a living thing in social spaces in the culture i grew up in, in a way that could have gotten through to me before i was old enough for self-consciousness and the constant fear of humiliation to get in my way.

@brennen This is something I really regret, that recorded music has both replaced community music making _and_ given us such high standards. There was a point I gave up on piano because I knew I could never be nearly as good as the professionals I admired. It took me a long time (and a drum circle) to understand that _playing_ music, even not great music, brings a joy different from listening to it.

@brennen But I think you have to _want_ it. Being forced to do it... seems like it could make a kid hate music.


> that recorded music has both replaced community music making _and_ given us such high standards.

yeah, i think about this constantly. for most of human existence and up until a point still just within living memory, shared singing, playing, chanting, etc., were probably near-universal parts of the social fabric. it's not _gone_ now, exactly, but it's receded drastically from so many lives & communities. it's a pretty astonishing loss.

@brennen The church is one of the last bastions, but the musical variety is narrow... worship music isn't the same as merrymaking, etc.
There are pockets of like-minded people... jam circles, etc exist all over. But those aren't part of the community you live in, and music in the home, music in the town square... those are things I wish we hadn't lost.


An open question is to what extent the cognitive benefits of learning music justify its mandatory inclusion in an educational programme.

After all, we teach kids algebra, and many of them loathe every second of it. We still do it.

@jankoekepan That's essentially the question I'm asking... is it off benefit? I think it has benefits, but are they the kind school should focus on? Middle school had a mandatory two years of band, two years of choir, and I don't think it did much for my desire to learn an instrument as an adult... but it did teach me to read music, which was an advantage.

@CarlCravens The neuropsychological studies strongly suggest that it is beneficial.

If the school is intended to strengthen the minds of children, then it is a plausible way of doing so, as part of a broad curriculum.

But is it the one with the best bang per buck? I haven's seen the budgets.

If I were to plan a curriculum for excellence, music would be in. If I were to plan a curriculum for adequacy, I'd tell people to do what they felt like, and do something else with my life.

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