Educators that favor a liberal arts instruction recognize the importance of music education. In Memphis, Tennessee music plays a vital role in the community and area educators have a host of historical elements to incorporate into their music program.
Parents and educators agree that music education is beneficial because:
- Data indicates that mastery of the arts, including music, are linked to higher incomes, greater self-esteem, and general success in society.
- Children who study an art or play an instrument have lower instances of substance abuse.
- Music education promotes cooperation, problem-solving skills, and discipline.
- Those students who experience music as part of their overall curriculum have improved sensitivity to sound and language.
- Music education offers a creative outlet and promotes other, less conventional methods of learning.
Further, music education can be a creative approach to teaching American or regional history. Locally, TN music itself offers a lesson in ethnic collaborations and the socio-economic evolution of the Midwest.
Created by the Smithsonian Institution, the exhibition of the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum offers its “Sound Education Program.” The music of Memphis has a colorful history, with societal and ethnic implications and an emphasis on the bigger picture of music history and significance throughout America. Music education based in the Memphis Tennessee music culture offers insight into our past as well as the opportunity to understand its role in today’s society.
Beginning with slavery and cotton farms, to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s plight, to current socio-economic conditions, the music of Memphis carries an insight into the political tension of the early 1900’s through today’s current events. Music from the rural communities of the Mississippi Delta echoes the hardships of agricultural life and the exploitation and segregation that interloped into daily life. Rock and roll was a national phenomenon and its significance is evident in the mid-century emergence of a youth culture, then came the British invasion, and so forth. Understanding the role of music can help define the importance of these monumental points in American history.
Another facet in the history of TN music is the dynamic personalities that have emerged over the last century—people who have overcome racial and social barriers to succeed in their art. Students of all ages can greatly benefit for their stories of human perseverance.