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Why I Teach Music

WHY Music

Music is a Science. It is exact, specific, and it demands exact acoustics. A con-

ductor’s full score is a chart, a graph which indicates frequencies, intensities, vol-

ume changes, melody and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of



Music is Mathematical. It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into

fractions which must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper.


Music is a Foreign Language. Most of the terms are in Italian, German, or French;

and the notation is certainly not English—but a highly developed kind of short-

hand that uses symbols to represent ideas. The semantics of music is the most

complete and universal language.


Music is History. Music usually reflects the environment and times of its creation,

often even the country and/or ethnic feeling.


Music is Physical Education. It requires fantastic co-ordination of fingers, hands,

arms, lip, cheek and facial muscles in addition to extraordinary control of the dia-

phragm, back, stomach, and chest muscles, which respond instantly to the sound

the ear hears and the mind interprets.


Music Develops Insight and Demands Research


Music is all these things, but most of all, MUSIC IS ART. It allows a human be-

ing to take all these, dry technically boring (but difficult) techniques and use them

to create emotion. That is one thing science cannot duplicate; humanism feeling,

emotion, call it what you will.

That is why we teach music!

Not because we expect you to major in music

Not because we expect you to play and sing all your life

But-so you will be human

So you will recognize beauty

So you will have something to cling to

So you will have more love, more compassion

More gentleness, more good-in sort,

More life.

From The Director, August, 1986