GLEE Give a Note

When I was in High School, the Band Geeks (it’s a loving term, used by them as a self-descriptor) were a decidedly different group than the ones with whom I hung out. They staked out different benches in the “forum” indoor quad, had different parties in different orchards on Saturday nights, and took different buses to different tournaments than I ever did (because I didn’t have a musical bone in my body), but in that group I saw the camaraderie and shared fun/angst/group incestuous romances/laughter/awkwardness/best friendiness of which any teenager longs to be a part. The music department kids—from Concert Choir and Jazz Band to Marching Band and sub groups plus rock and roll splinter  bands—had an extracurricular, AND curricular life that was decidedly better than kids who were loners. The arts programs in schools are not electives that can be dropped at the whim of a budget cutting administrator or school board member. Entire arts programs disappearing while the football team gets new jerseys is a crime of wildly misplaced priorities. Every kid MUST find his or her mojo, the thing they want to do when the bell rings, not because of how it will look on a college application, but because of how it feels. The arts, in my experience trying a zillion different teen activities from sports teams to debate to drama to service, science, and language clubs, is the category of community that creates lifetime friendships, familial bonds, and confidence unrivaled in other fields. You don’t have to be particularly vulnerable or open up your soul to run track or rebuild an engine in shop class (but you should ABSOLUTELY do those things if you find them interesting), but to sing a solo, do a monologue, audition, dance a recital, tell a personal story on video, play a difficult piece on your rented, dented brass instrument…these take real guts. And, sadly, these kinds of opportunities are disappearing from schools every day.

The folks behind TV superhit, GLEE, are helping support school music programs. If the miserable excuse used by administrators is that music gets cut due to lack of funding…then let’s fund! The Give a Note Foundation is renewing America’s embattled music education programs. That scrappy, wildly popular TV show, GLEE  is giving a million dollars to the foundation to help bring music into the life of every student, particularly those in underserved areas.

Support the arts, and support artists. It is not a world we want to have without them. You don’t have to give a million dollars, but you DO have to give a damn.

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