Sunday, September 07, 2014

The Arts Are Essential

"Given how much greater a role the arts and humanities play in their own right -- the arts for arts' sake -- they certainly don't need to be justified by their utility as servants of science. How unfortunate, then, that arts and humanities scholarship receives so little recognition and funding, and so infrequently finds its way into the national discourse..."
"Take, for example, music, which has been an important part of my own life since my teen years...Music as an art form is at once complex, evolving, up to the minute in its currency, and yet primal, basic, and eminently human. It is among the most universal of art forms, among the most organic of experiences. According to Michael Thaut in his book Rhythm, Music, and the Brain, "Throughout human history, music has been considered a form of communication. However, the nature of what and how music communicates has been the subject of long-standing and fascinating inquiries in philosophy, religion, the arts, and the sciences." Music is a communicator, a transducer of emotion, a stimulator of understanding -- explicit or implicit. Music teaches in a way that we cannot replicate with words. Pedagogically complex, music transforms us, touches us alone or in a shared experience, whether planned or improvised. What of the place of plans and improvisation in art, in life? Can anything teach that point more clearly than music? The seamless juxtaposition of the planned and the extemporaneous -- musician to musician, musician to audience, audience to musician -- are vividly evident in the live act of creating and receiving".
"I believe deeply that arts education is of great value in and of itself, not only instrumentally; I believe just as emphatically that education in the arts is the business of all of us, from the home and the family to the neighborhood and the village, from the P-12 school system to higher education to lifelong learning, culminating in the great and defining legacy of our public culture."
David J. Skortons is an American professor of medicine and engineering and an academic administrator. He presently serves as the 12th president of Cornell University, a position he has held since 2006. In this opinion he explains why teaching creativity in schools is not a luxury.
-- Read opinion in full on Edutopia

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