16. Piano Lessons in Public Schools? Yes, please!
Only public education can save the music.
Those that are illiterate think that they know everything, and have nothing to strive towards. But the more that a person knows and can do, the more possibilities he discovers, and the more tempting it is to better his results. If every child knew how to read notes with certainty and to play on the keys of the piano, then more able-bodied students would want to study other instruments than ever before in the history of music education.
Any realm of human activity is like a tree. The general public comprises its roots, educated specialists make the trunk, and the masters are the branches. And the further the roots spread, the stronger and more magnificent the trunk and crown become. Art is the communication of the masters with the public. When there are more educated listeners, the creations of the masters become increasingly heavenly and sophisticated. It is because of this that we haven’t produced new Beethovens and Mozarts in centuries! If only the talented musicians had an educated public, they could polish their masterpieces with enthusiasm and take music to completely new heights. As things stand now, they are more likely to spend that time working a second job so that they can afford to feed themselves and their families.
Universal music literacy is the only way that music can flourish and develop as an art. We musicians have no other option. The time has come to put our fears of universal literacy aside and to pass it on to everybody!
If we want to survive in today’s world, and we want the art of music to flourish, we must do everything we can to put a stop to systemized music illiteracy. The salvation of music no longer depends on our masterful performances, on brand new masterpieces, interesting films and clever articles. The salvation of music can be found in the classrooms in public schools, specifically those that contain our future connoisseurs and audience, performers and conductors, and close to them, future presidents and senators on whom the fate of music education depends.
Each year that music education doesn’t help children to really learn music, the art of it is pushed further into obscurity. Only if taught to sing and play from notes can a person understand the value of the creations of other musicians. And only such a person can realize the importance of a music education.