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Football or Music?

February 8, 2016

Super Bowl 50 is history

The Sunday football game is over and once again the commercials and the music were powerful components of the event. The highlight for me? Seeing the young people from the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, the ensemble founded and directed by Los Angeles Philharmonic music director Gustavo Dudamel, performing alongside Coldplay.

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Coldplay practicing with the students for the Super Bowl half time performance.

Youth Orchestra Los Angeles was founded in 2007 and now serves more than 700 students in the Los Angeles area. Kids between the ages of 6 and 18 take lessons, participate in orchestral ensembles and receive mentoring and academic tutoring at sites in South Los Angeles, the Rampart District and East Los Angeles. The program also supplies free instruments to students who participate. How cool that they had a chance to be part of Super Bowl 50!

Along with the excitement of student musicians in this blog post I also want to share an article that was in Education Week online in June 2015. It is called Football or Music? What’s the Best K-12 Investment? and was written by John R. Gerdy. He looked closely at the use of funds for football and music in schools. His conclusions are based on his own experiences. He is the founder and executive director of Music For Everyone, a non-profit dedicated to cultivating the power of music as an educational and community building tool. He was the son of a high school football coach and was an all-state basketball player and went on to play professional basketball. His conclusions are based on his experiences and research.

The reality of communities and school boards having to make tough decisions about spending is nothing new. About 5 years ago I asked a superintendent, that I had been working with for several years, how he made his decisions when it came to cutting funding in creating the school budget. His response was that it was equal between sports and the arts. I was shocked and said: “Why would you look at a program that is outside of the school day up against courses that are taught during the school day?” My shock turned around when he said: “I never thought about that.”

Mr. Gerdy points out in the article that very few people go on after high school and play football yet many continue with music. Please read the article to learn what Mr. Gerdy has to say on the topic.

http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/06/23/football-or-music-whats-the-best-k-12.html?cmp=ENL-CM-NEWS3

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