Do You Remember Your School’s Music Program?

Kids must be taught to appreciate music from an early age

By Jon Liebman
Week of May 20, 2019

This week we published an interview with ace session player Mark Corradetti (our 600th bass interview!!!), who told us some great stories about his experiences in Boston, New York, Nashville, and LA. When Mark mentioned how he got his first music experience in the public school system, he lit up, raving about how fantastic the school music program was when he was a kid.

Mark’s enthusiasm got me thinking about all the professional– or even the non-professional –  musicians, who went through the music programs in their schools, acquiring an invaluable appreciation for the arts they’ll retain for a lifetime. In recalling some of the  bass player interviews I’ve conducted, names like Shavo Odadjian, Ralphe Armstrong, Jimmy Haslip, Téja Veal, and Roberto Vally come to mind, as people who referenced school music programs as their original inspiration to become a musician. And the work that Doug Wimbish does for school kids all over the world is nothing short of remarkable.

Sadly, with the state of school music programs not what it used to be, one has to wonder what kind of appreciation today’s kids will develop for music and the arts as they grow into adulthood.

Coincidentally, after I’d already decided on the topic for this week’s blog, my wife and I happened to stumble upon Mr. Holland’s Opus on TV, which really drove the point home. Is it really all about budgets that gets school programs cut, or is it a question of priorities? Granted, it’s a challenge to offer music and art classes in addition to English, science, and math, but isn’t there some kind of balance that can be struck to provide a well-rounded education? In running a business, for example, you can’t do everything, but you find a way to do what you need to do, if you make it a priority.

While school music programs aren’t gone, they’re not nearly as vibrant as they were when we were kids. I remember taking violin lessons in 3rd and 4th grade (so does my family, no doubt!). Nowadays, having a strong music program may be limited only to more affluent school districts, which seems unfair.

Fortunately, sites like For Bass Players Only aren’t beholden to school boards, or appropriations committees, or legislative oversight bodies. Even though our audience isn’t made up of school kids, we’re happy to keep the music alive, any way we can. Long live music, for students of all ages.

Have a thought on the subject? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. In the meantime, check out my interview with Mark here.


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