The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #60238   Message #963354
Posted By: Bev and Jerry
06-Jun-03 - 03:44 PM
Thread Name: Folk Music Dying?
Subject: RE: Folk Music Dying?
Although this is the first study of it's kind that we're aware of, the results aren't exactly news. We became aware of this sad state of affairs about twenty five years ago and that's why we started presenting American folk music programs in schools.

Children would not "...learn the tunes if music teachers received lists of American songs and worked with their colleagues to help pass along the knowledge". In California, at least, there are virtually no music teachers. Also, we have state testing of every student every year and the results effect teachers' salaries among other things. So, the whole school year is geared to "The Test" which contains no questions about folk music or any other kind of music.

In the January, 1984 issue of Music Educators Journal an article appeared which stated "American folk music is an important part of or national heritage to which many students will not be exposed unless that exposure occurs in school. Furthermore, schools are the ideal place for folk music because this material complements the information content of many academic subjects." Modesty prevents us from revealing the authors of this article.

In the movie "Mr. Holland's Oous" there is a scene where Mr. Holland gets laid off after some twenty five years of teaching high school music. The principal explains that the budget has been cut and if he has to choose between reading, writing, and long division versus drama and music, reading, writing, and long division will win every time. Mr. Holland replies that, although the kids may learn to read and write, they won't have anything to read and write about.

We have played at thousands of schools, public, private and parochial. The problem is found almost exclusively in public schools.

End of rant Part I.

Bev and Jerry