Faced with last year’s horrific budget crisis, and the failure of a parcel tax to pass, the Mt. Diablo Unified School District had to eliminate the 4th grade instrumental music program this school year. The budget situation from Sacramento doesn’t look much better for the coming school year, and parents, teachers, and administrators worry that 5th instrumental music might be another program that will have to go.
Teachers tell me that if the kids don’t start playing instruments in the fourth and fifth grades, the middle and high school programs will eventualy be decimated.
Besides that, say leaders of the Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation, “it has been shown that students who become involved in music education become better students, attend school more regularly than other students, score higher on state standardized tests than other students, and stay engaged in school.
“Music programs enrich the students’ education and help students develop for adulthood. In turn, these programs and students support the arts and music and thereby enrich the community. While the area high schools in the district support a wide range of music programs, including orchestras, choral, jazz ensembles, and band, the elimination of elementary music will start to erode the quality of the secondary music program. Without elementary music programs, fewer students will take up music.”
With all that in mind, and passionate about saving these vital early programs for kids in the district, the foundation is hosting a 12-hour Music-A-Thon Saturday that features performances by music students from the various elementary, middle, and high schools, the students showcasing different styles of music and vocals.
Participating schools so far include Clayton Valley High School, Concord High School, Northgate High, El Dorado Middle, Foothill Middle, Pine Hollow Middle, Pleasant Hill Middle, as well as elementary students from Ayers, El Monte, Highlands, Holbrook, Monte Gardens, Westwood, and Woodside. More schools are expected to be announced soon.
The music will start at 10 am at the Multi-Use Room at Concord High School, 4200 Concord Blvd. in Concord, and go until 10 pm.
The Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation will be holding various fundraisers to raise money to save music in our elementary schools, as well as soliciting donations.