Stop the Chaos

excerpt from the kcmta Newsletter Vol. 8, #9 June 2008

Joyce Berg, NCTM

We cannot have a successful and effective democracy without intelligent, disciplined, conscientious, and loving people. 

As teachers, we know that music prepares a student for facing life, but what surprises many non-musicians is the extent to which music lessons can train a person. Among the many things that we do as teachers, we are instrumental in changing students’ behavior. When my daughter went to Europe for a Youth Symphony tour, we noticed that the students on our bus were always on time, followed directions, and were easy to handle. The other bus had people late, lost, and uncooperative. What was startling was when we realized that all the people on our bus were all first and second chair performers. The real question that we need to address is how well a person functions. If they function well, then a lot of the other complications and social ills tend to diminish. Isn’t that the real reason behind all the terrible insurance rates and the multitude of lawsuits?

I have a CEO and two adults in managerial positions in my studio and the complaints they have about the young people they hire are explosive. People complain that they can’t get a house built decently because the workers can’t follow directions, are inaccurate, etc., etc. The complaints abound in our society.

Give them all music lessons! Then if you can, get them to gradually put these lessons into their lives.

When we face our beginning students, it’s our privilege to help them gradually stop the chaos.