Music programs are the first to go

When I was a junior in high school, my school was one of 10 schools in the country to win a Grammy award.
This, of course, is a little different from the Grammy awards you see on TV. We were given a Grammy for having one of the best music programs in the country, not for having the song of the year or anything like that.
Music has been a huge part of my life ever since I started flute lessons in third grade. I may have slacked on my practicing a little bit (or a lot), but once I got into high school I loved playing with a group of people who appreciated music just as much as I did. As a member of the top band my senior year, I even got to travel to play in a few competitions. We played music that a lot of colleges wouldn’t even attempt. We were good.
You can probably imagine my surprise when I found out a few weeks ago the district had decided to cut funding for the music programs in middle schools and high schools because they wanted to cut $21.4 million from next year’s budget.
The general population had the same reaction as me, luckily enough, and parents and community members have been signing petitions and flocking to board meetings to fight the loss of funding. All I could do was sign a petition online and whine with my former band mates, unfortunately.
What I want to know is why the music programs the first ones to be cut from schools.
I think if the district needs to make cuts, they should spread the cuts through all the programs and not just one. Apparently music and art programs are more likely to be cut because they aren’t government tested like English and math, but then there’s really no reason why sports should be exempt from budget cuts.
As someone who has been involved in music, art and sports, I can honestly say I don’t think any one of those programs is really more important than another one. All three of them had a pretty big impact on my life, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels like this. So why is it music that’s getting completely singled out? Funding for sports teams will never be cut though, honestly, but does it really make sense to take money away from one of the only things bringing a school national recognition?
So far small group technique classes have been cut out completely in middle schools, making it extremely difficult for musicians who can’t afford private lessons to learn at their own pace and even keep up with their peers. Nineteen music teachers in the district have also lost their jobs. One of those teachers was my favorite band teacher in middle school. Who knows what else will go?
Michelle Geltner is a sophomore English and marketing major from Naperville. She is the Scout features reporter.
Direct questions, comments and other responses to mgeltner@mail.bradley.edu.