If you travel to another country, you will more than likely encounter another language. And while you probably cannot speak every language, there is one language that speaks to everyone. We don’t need special devices to translate or years of training to understand the universal language of music. It transcends all social, economic, and cultural barriers.
This powerful force that we have at our fingertips is something Day Violins has embraced and educates about on a daily basis. Music is universal. It is something that is omnipresent in our lives. We rarely go a day, or sometimes even an hour without listening to music. From songs on the radio, our playlist, commercial jingles, and all sorts of other music we hear on a constant basis.
There are countless articles about how music helps you become smarter, how it raises your test scores and countless other benefits.
But, rather than DEFENDING music, Day Violins shows people how it is something that makes us human.
Through outreach and advocacy, Day Violins is active not only on a community level but state and national level, letting people know about the power of music. We rent, sell, and teach the power of music. We talk to everyone who walks into the shop about music and we meet with Senators and Congressmen to let them know we need funding to keep programs alive. We attend concerts and special events and speak to the audience about how important music is, then they listen and know what we speak of. We speak at workshops and zoom meetings, hold seminars, and talk directly to teachers about what we can do to help keep programs alive, how we can help them with their program needs.
Outreach is a daily task.
Music is something that unites us. If you were to attend a concert or a music festival in another country where you weren’t fluent in the language, you would immediately be connected with the first note. There would be singing, swaying, and locking arms. There would be nodding heads and tapping toes. The scattered black lines and dots on a piece of paper come together and bring together a force that reaches us and allows us to feel when words sometimes fail.
Then, why is it so hard for administrators and lawmakers to understand this power? Why are these the first programs to be cut? Why is it that music teachers and other music advocates have to spend so much time on outreach and education to “convince” them to keep these programs in the schools and communities?
The biggest disconnect is that we always compare music education as to how it helps us with other things. “If you take music, you will be smarter in math” and other facts. And, while these facts are true and valid, and very important, they are only the outlying reasons as to why music is so important. We use these statistics when advocating for school programs because it speaks their language. They are bound by state test scores. These facts need to be used. They need to be explained and validated for the lawmakers, school board members, and administrators.
But, on a higher level, music is a magical give/give situation for everyone.
First, listening to music can touch emotions and unspoken feelings. Listening to music can calm your nerves, rev you up, help you sort out your emotions, and give perspective. Music evokes memories and feelings, it tells a story. Lyrics, combined with music, can teach and reprimand, enable focus, and elicit an array of feelings. When you hear a deep, slow sound, there’s probably something sneaking up behind you. If a steady beat starts, it’s time to get up and march or dance. Softer, slower music can help calm your nerves when you are upset. Songs are specifically chosen for specific reasons to listen. Weddings, funerals, church meetings, parades, movies, and sports events, all have specific types of music chosen for the event.
And then there’s another level of music. And this is where all the actual data comes into play. This is where it becomes present in the human race – where it reaches our heart and brain and causes all the feels. While listening is very powerful, unlocking the ability to make sense of the dots and lines on the paper and then create something, is astonishing. It seems like it is almost supernatural to be able to blow into a metal tube and make a sound, especially if the tube of metal is twisted around and around into a shape. Or what about plucking thin metal strands? Large wooden shapes with holes in them create appeasing sounds…it’s uncanny.
Humans crave interactions. And music provides this interaction. Students in their music classes become a part of something. Something that binds them together. This bond becomes stronger with the years, as students participate in marching bands and orchestra festivals, eat lunch together in the orchestra room, make memories in the early morning cold weather and late-night concerts. In music, you can pursue a passion without explanation, because they “get it.” And, then there is the obligatory statistics that lawmakers lean on, the higher test scores, the increased graduation rates, the social and emotional healing and learning that takes place, without explanation, but benefits on a continuous basis.
The great thing about music is that it doesn’t need to make excuses, it doesn’t have to be sugar-coated, to be dressed up and paraded around. This is what we advocate for on the local level, the state level, and the national level. The power of music needs to be expressed and reminders need to be sent and spoken and played over and over again so that those who get distracted and forget can remember.
Interested in Day Violins and our efforts to advocate for music education? Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.