Skipping the Beat

Daniela Garcia, Opinion Editor

TCS might be known for its gorgeous campus, qualified teachers, and international opportunities for its students. However, when students think of The Columbus School, the music program never comes to mind. That’s because it barely exists. Musical education is a long-neglected topic at the school, and due to this issue, students are forced to find other resources to be able to feed their musical interests and to learn. It is clear that the school has other priorities that come before a musical education, yet it should still be given a chance to thrive if the necessary resources were allocated.

In Colombia, music has a variety of well-known stereotypes. It is seen as “easy,” “lazy,” and even too risky to study as a career. Most parents with children working in the musical field think they won’t amount to anything. Nevertheless, schools all over the city care about some specific programs more than others, and TCS definitely puts sports over anything else. As a student of TCS, I have been a victim of the neglect of arts and music. During elementary school, I was part of the chorus and the theater extracurricular. For a seven-year-old girl, the sky was the limit. I eventually grew out of the teachers and programs, becoming much better until there was nothing else to learn. I had to transfer to the Musicreando music academy to continue expanding my horizons and progress with my passions. The school offers band in middle school but as a person that was never interested in instruments, I felt ignored. Dancing, acting, and singing made me grow and mature incredibly into a teenager, developing discipline habits and becoming myself.  “What many schools do not realize, however, is that programs such as music education can have major positive impacts on growth and development, ” J.Silverstone, a specialist in musical education, said. Some benefits include: enhanced language capabilities, improved memory, coordination, study habits, teamwork, mental processing and problem-solving. Learning music has been a part of the school’s curriculum for a long time, with students starting in first grade. Then students start to lose interest when they enter middle school, as it becomes an elective and they need to put in the time in order to grow and develop their abilities. The first step comes with the school’s community; however, students, teachers, and parents simply don’t care. This ends up in dissatisfied teachers, neglected materials and a bunch of students worried about their hobby.

What happens to the students that actually care? Most attempt to be a part of the school’s band or choir but it is taken as a joke. “There is a normal band program but I think that there should be a wider variety. “Students should have the freedom to choose the instrument that they want to play, or sing or even do musical theater. Music isn’t just about playing an instrument, it’s about growing and learning to improve,” Maria Cuartas, TCS senior and practicing musician, said. Students feel ignored, but the school has the possibility to make these changes and hear their students out. “The necessity to rethink teaching and learning pedagogy for education in the twenty-first century has emerged as a result of the growing and changing needs and requirements of society,” R.Crawford, professor, said. Music has helped me become who I truly am, and being halted by my own school was crushing for me. Learning music outside the school made me realize that it was fine to be different, we don’t all have to play with balls and jerseys. However, students are always open to refuse and will fight for what they stand for, the majority beating out the ones affected. The school has to realize that as time passes old curriculum has to change. The music program has the tools to progress but drastic matters have to be taken into consideration by the directives. 

The school can definitely make further efforts to support the program, being able to reach students and parents all over the school to help. “A really great help would be getting a new teacher, to help the current one, it’s really hard for one to manage all students, or also get a new perspective on the program taking into consideration what the students want,” Cuartas said. Parents have a lot of influence in the school; therefore, if they don’t agree with the improvement of the efforts the school is making its chance to work can be affected and even lost. Parents aren’t always right, they cannot choose what their children want to be. Music has the capacity to captivate souls and improve moods, we should start to cherish it and work on how to implement it school-wide.