Thursday, March 28, 2013

Morning Music

At quite a number (I can't remember exactly) of grade schools on Cape Cod the morning begins with the principal  on the PA system saying good morning, giving the weather prediction (maybe the Red Sox stats) and then saying, "This morning's music is ..." and then playing five minutes of classical music, having given name of composer (maybe Mozart, as in the photo here), name of the composition and opus number.  The children sit quietly listening to the music, then the day continues as usual in grade schools.  This is an innovation initiated by the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra's supporters.  Teachers report that during this year, since it has become routine, they feel the children are able to concentrate longer and more effectively on their lessons.

A charming, cheery bass trombone player named George Scharr gave to the adults at the Academy for Lifelong Learning, the lecture he has prepared, with video, to take to many schools during the remainder of the school year. The theme of his talk is that music, like many other things in our world, can be reduced, reused and recycled. I am not at all sure that this kind of exposure to classical music will make concert (classical not rock) goers of young people.  If listening to five minute of Mozart's or Bach's music in the morning is a calming transition from a hurried home and noisy bus ride, wonderful!  From the years when I had school age children I've seen this kind of effort by intelligent adults who want to "expose" children to culture.  Such a small taste of classical music can't hurt but I don't imagine it having a long lasting impact.  For most children it's a part of "school", not a part of "real" life, and will be a mere residue like the lines they learn from a poem by Robert Frost, or the date of a Civil War battle.

Mr. Scharr's talk also referred to ecology, global warming, recycling and reusing everyday items; it seemed a politically correct amalgam of current themes in society.  I very much enjoyed the man's presentation but I am bothered by the element of fantasy about it's potential effect. 



The 5 minute interlude of classical music is a rather short span of time. I can see where perhaps 15 minutes or more might relax them. As to remembering the music -- I imagine that it will resonate with some while not with others.I do believe in the idea of recycling whatever we can and it begins with small steps. Recycling the words of women like Friedan and Steinam has helped the women's movement -- taken years but it has gotten better all the time. -- barbara

troutbirder said...

What a wonderful idea. As a teacher I think I could have used a quiet interlude much better than the usual endless announcements most of which were a waste of time...:)