For many years it has been argued whether the value of a musical education is that of what we consider "core curriculum".
In this argument, there are two sides. There is the side that says that the value of a musical education is inexplicable. It has no value because it is invaluable. Then there is the other side that says that the arts are more of a hobby. They don't impact a child too greatly and should be funded privately rather than through the state government.
Since 2010, Music Matters has been at the forefront of this battle, encouraging hearts and minds to give to the arts in Burlington WI through our nonprofit. We have raised over $70,000 dollars since our founding and have an arsenal of about 40 instruments that are loaned to kids who cannot afford their own.
But rarely do I actually hear us talking about what it means to be an artist, or what it means to have a streak of creativity. Our schools do a great job of focusing on fostering the creative mind. Teaching theory, technique and pride in ones accomplishments. We at Music Matters can then take these success stories and make connections with donors who also think creatively. These donors are then asked to fund a program that may impact the community in ways we haven’t even been able to calculate yet.
But when we break down the arts, isn't it truly a bunch of people who come from all various walks of life; thinking uniquely and attracting other to their masterpieces?
So what stops us from creating? Cindy Foley says in her TED Talk, that there are three obstacles to this process.
1. Ambiguity (not knowing)
2. Idea generation
3. Trans-disciplinary research
For this blog, I’d love to focus on obstacle 1. As an artist in various forms myself, I find that the fear of not knowing is often the root of my lack of creativity. Ideas aren't living beings that float around waiting to connect with us. They are thoughts that you and I have all day long. What each thought needs to grow is nurturing. Someone who can take the time to think beyond the original thought and turn it into a vision. From there, they share that vision with a friend, who shares it with another friend, who creates a logo or a brand, who then finds a rental space to grow the vision. Suddenly your hiring artists like you to come on board and create and soon after that you start to see your vision accomplished and a new though occurs to you.
But none of this happens if we stop and give in to ambiguity. When Music Matters started, it was because several parents in our community decided the arts were important to their students. They had a thought which turned into a vision. They talked to each other and grew that vision into a reputable nonprofit.
So the argument about whether the arts are important or not is truly irrelevant. They are. The argument ought to be, "If we support the arts and creators, can we overcome ambiguity, create ideas and expand our research beyond our field of relevance?"