It’s hard for me to imagine who I would be without the presence of music in my life.
While she was in my mother’s womb, my mother put on rock n’ roll records. From the minute I could speak, I sang. I spread out my parents’ vinyl albums and spent hours listening to them. At Christmas, I printed Christmas carols for my family and played the piano while we sang. Most Saturdays my parents and I would put on wigs and costumes and dance the night away. I started my own music collection when I was 7 – it started with cassette tapes and a walkman and then evolved into mixed media CDs and downloaded MP3s for my iPod. My accumulation of tracks runs into the thousands, dating back to the playlists I created in college. I look forward to attending live concerts and performing as a singer and dancer as some of the most meaningful experiences of my life.
Music has been and continues to be a faithful companion in everyday life. He moved me, soothed and cradled my soul. It helped me find the courage to face difficult days. I sweated my fears and my sadness against the backdrop of the beat. Musicians have changed the way I see the world, and I’m continually in awe of humans’ ability to express themselves musically.
I’m a big believer in music education, and March is National Music Month in our schools. We are fortunate to live in a community where the arts are highly valued, especially in education.
On Orcas, The Music Advocacy Group has spent decades supporting Orcas Island’s public school music program. Its mission includes “a school music program that is an integral part of every student’s educational experience at all levels, with instrumental and choral components, that engages the public imagination and is a source of community pride.” MAG helps fund musical instruments, equipment, music education software and competition fees and transportation costs for off-island competitions. Orcas students have won numerous awards at regional competitions and have even performed at Carnegie Hall.
Darvill’s Bookstore has created storefronts showcasing their many music-related offerings. Stop by, check it out, and support an island store. Any book that is not on the shelf, you can order. Other ideas to celebrate include creating a music calendar for your kids that explores different genres each week and learning to play an instrument yourself (it’s NEVER too late). ‘local instructor, there are phone applications and computer programs. to help start the process.
Studies show that playing or listening to music increases your brain capacity; reduces stress; improves mood and strengthens the immune system. A high-quality music education helps develop the skills students need to make decisions, focus, plan, and problem solve, and supports children’s social and emotional well-being. All children should have access to musical exploration, and we are so grateful to those who volunteer their time, talents and financial resources to make this a reality.