Let Them Sing and Dance…

Written by: Mitchell Robinson

Primary Source : Keep Talking, September 29, 2015

I was out for my morning run today, and as I came around a bend in the road could see two little girls waiting for their bus off in the distance. Oblivious to their surroundings, they were left to their own devices. They could do whatever they wanted to do, with no adults to interfere or give direction.

So what did they do?

They held hands and danced.

They chanted a rhyme.

They sang a song.

And they laughed.

They did these things not because they were bored, or because they didn’t know what else to do. They danced and sang because this is how children make sense of their world, and their relationships.

When school boards and administrators take art, music, library, physical education and recess out of the school day, they leave behind an impoverished education for the children for whom they are responsible.

Every child deserves to be taught these disciplines by a certified, qualified teacher, with adequate supplies, materials and facilities.

The arts are not a frill, a “special”, or a “break” for classroom teachers’ planning time. They are a critical, integral component of a full and rich educational experience for every child, and a necessary part of the curriculum.

Just ask those two little girls.

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Mitchell Robinson
Mitchell Robinson is associate professor and chair of music education, and coordinator of the music student teaching program at Michigan State University. Robinson has held previous appointments as assistant professor and coordinator of the music education area at the University of Connecticut; assistant professor of school and community music education at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y.; and director of wind activities and wind ensemble conductor at the University of Rochester. Robinson’s public school teaching experience includes 10 years as an instrumental music teacher, music department facilitator and high school assistant principal in Fulton, N.Y.