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"Wouldn't it be great if schools received all the money they needed, and the Air Force had to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber?"
~ as seen on a guitar-case adorned with like-stickers.

According to school boards across the country, the illusive core curriculum does not include the arts. The essential knowledge a child should posses is limited to math, science, English, history, and geography.

Now labeled as extracurricular activities, music and art are the first areas attacked when a school faces budget cuts. It is difficult to deal with financial concerns in the classroom. Every school should have unlimited resources to educate our children, but the fact remains that many do not. Why should we be concerned that music is being taken out of the classroom? What can a child learn in a school music class that is as important as a math lesson? These are the questions asked at school board meetings. The answers can be found in children who have not had the experience of studying music in school. They are unaware of the possibilities found in music. Music is a valuable source for mental, social, and emotional learning, and should remain in the nations schools.

Music stimulates the mind. Who has not heard about the Mozart effect? Research indicates that listening to classical music, that of Mozart, Bach, or Beethoven, enhances a child's mental capacity for learning.

Does this mean a child immersed in classical music will definitely be a math genius? Probably not, but she has a better chance than a child not exposed to classical music.

The study of music in schools promotes social well-being by giving children a sense of belonging to a group. Feeling important is essential to a child's self esteem and development. As part of a musical ensemble, a child becomes a vital member of a somewhat social group. There is a camaraderie among band/choir members that is not found anywhere else. The common goal of making music brings students together. They experience joy while performing and learn that hard work and discipline do produce results.

These lessons are important in life. To remove these opportunities would deny the social growth of students. With the recent rise of teen violence, educators are encouraging children to participate in extracurricular school activities as an alternative to the streets. Such programs have been developed in inner cities and have produced incredible results. Not only do the students stay off the streets, they have a respect for themselves as they become aspiring musicians. An introduction to music is valuable to the development of these children. These programs do cost money and that seems to be the main argument of opposing forces.

Social development of students is just as important as academic skills. Without social skills, a child will not reach her full potential. She can be the smartest in her class, but if she lacks self esteem and the ability to interact socially with her peers, her full potential will be difficult to achieve.

Many children who study music will not enter the music profession, but will always have a love and enjoyment of music in their lives. For all the benefits of music education, there is still a struggle to keep it in Canada's classrooms. Our country is slowly realizing the importance of music, but is still hesitant to give it the value of the core subjects. Every student in every school should be given an opportunity to study music. Budget problems have made it difficult to fund music programs.

Children deserve to experience the wonderful world of music.

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