Archive for April 10th, 2014

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Another Student’s Story: Zachary Fisher

April 10, 2014

What Can The Arts Do For Me? By Zachary Fisher

Zachary is the student representative on the Maine Alliance for Arts Education board. On Arts Education day recently at the State House in Augusta Zachary shared the following message.

Why on Earth is arts education a necessity in my upbringing? What could theatre do for me? What could music do for me? Painting, dancing, acting, singing, sculpting? What could they do for me? What could the arts possibly do for me?

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Zack and fellow student on Arts Education Day at the State House in Augusta

It scares me to think that this is the mindset of some people in our world. When I hear the question, “What can the arts do?”, I think to myself, “What can’t the arts do?”. Mind you, the Minuet in G has never cleaned my room nor has it cooked me dinner, but when the arts are placed in such a useless and expendable light, I cannot help but be appalled.

I am required to take math because it is a fundamental component of our universe. Math classes increase logical problem solving skills and keep the brain sharp.

I am required to take science because it allows me to comprehend my universe. Science class helps me acknowledge the processes of life and complicated systems in my surroundings.

I am required to take English because it is the language I, and approximately 30% of the entire world speak. English classes help me to express ideas and communicate effectively through our common tongue.

I am hardly required to take classes in the arts. My high school, and many others like it, only require a single year of any “fine arts” class to gain the credit. Compare this to the three years of math, three years of science, and four years of English I was required to take in order to obtain my high school diploma.

What is it then, that separates the arts from other classes? Most importantly is emotion. In high school emotions rage like a wildfire. I have never met a person who can express themselves properly by use of the trigonometry fundamentals. In theory, the english language could express our emotions, and does to some degree, but we as students learn quickly that English class is not interested in our opinion influenced by emotion, but our opinion influenced by research. The arts give us a place to release these kept emotions, and grants us a medium to express ourselves at a satisfactory level.

Common statistics show us that the arts are components to an overall better student. Students who take over a year of classes pertaining to the arts have on average better attendance rates, less discipline reports, higher grade point averages, higher graduation rates, and higher standardized test scores. This is because the arts teach discipline like no other classes offered in a school. This discipline transfers to other classes quite easily and in turn creates a student with better habits.

Finally, if the arts making a better student and providing safe emotional expression does not interest you, then hear this final argument. I have to sit eighty minutes every day, learning how to do complicated math problems. As a future music teacher, I will never touch quadratics after high school so long as I have something to say about it. The future engineering major who sits beside me though, cannot get enough of this curriculum. Just as he enjoys math because it pertains to his career, chorus class is my shining moment of the day where I get a taste of my future, and a taste of what I love. Without math class, the country would be in turmoil. Our economy would likely collapse and our everyday innovations cease to exist. That being said, even utopia would be boring without the arts to color it. The perfect world would give us music to be heard, art to be seen, and plays to be entertained by. Poets would be praised, and singers highly respected. The unfortunate truth is, we live in a world far from perfect. Which means we need the arts more than ever. You need the arts more than you realize. We as students are the influences of your future, so please ask yourself, what can arts do for our students? As you’ll then in turn ask yourself, what can the arts do for me?

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