Malcolm adds: "Sometimes I use music to do my math. I'll think of adding quarter-notes, half-notes. I put my notes together as math."Here is an article about a remarkable charter school in Boston that centers its curriculum around music. The children are learning how to play the violin, yes, but also discipline, social engagement, listening skills, etc. Yet, in many public schools around the country, music programs are being slashed and burned. That's because you can't measure what one learns from music in a standardized test. Sure, you could have them identify chord progressions and define musical terms, but you certainly can't measure the skills they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
I wonder what would happen if we handed a violin to every child in every elementary school. I'm not naive enough to consider this a plan to save the world, but I do think it is time to invest in our children with renewed vigor...not by worrying about creating standards by which they should measure their achievement, but by helping them desire to achieve in the first place.