From: Dr. Christopher Mechell
I attended both Winona Middle School and Winona Senior High School graduating in 2004. During that time, I had the privilege of being a student of many incredible music teachers that helped to shape me into the person I am today. Thanks to them, I developed the skills to eventually complete my doctorate in music and become a successful, professional pianist, teacher, and communicator in today’s workforce.
I have recently learned of the cuts to the music programs in Winona. This upsets me greatly. If anything, the music budget should be increased in our schools and music education should be more of a focus in today’s world.
Unlike other subjects, music uniquely offers a form of communication otherwise not available to us. Shattering all language barriers, music is universally understood by all as it is a language unto itself. It tears down emotional walls by providing an encouraging venue for individual expression. It opens opportunities for discussions and interactions otherwise not possible.
As a music teacher, I vividly witness on a daily basis how effectively a teacher can help a student through the study of music. An effective teacher does not simply impart knowledge confined within the purview of their particular subject or field. Rather, they use their subject as a vehicle with which to mold students into better people. Thanks to the uniqueness of music and the time I spent with my WAPS music teachers, I have reached many people I didn’t think possible.
Cutting the music budget and/or limiting the program by eliminating orchestra and teacher positions deprives students of the limitless possibilities that music offers them and lessens educators’ opportunities to reach students in unique and positive ways. No matter what profession a student chooses after graduation, the skills they develop through the study of music lasts a lifetime and helps them develop into confident, positive, creative people.
Support the arts. It is not just notes and rhythms. It is much more than that.