More Than Music

March is National Music in Our Schools Month. Wayne Washam is long-time band director and friend of mine. He often said, “There are some kids the band needs, and there are some kids who need the band.” This video, “More Than Music,” illustrates a true story from my teaching career. It spotlights a young man who started as the one and became the other.



Eye on Education (which has since been bought by Routledge) produced this video several years ago. That’s why you see the covers of my first two books but not the one for the new release of Get Organized! The words are mine. The images are stock images. Thus, you are not seeing actual pictures of me or the student portrayed in the video.

Are we committed to educating children who grow up whole? “Music in Our School Month” is an opportunity to focus on the part music plays towards that end. A former superintendent asked, “How many music questions are there on the (high-stakes) test?” I wanted to say, “None…and it’s a shame.

Looking back, perhaps I should have.

We are in a period where teachers and principals feel the pressure to “teach to the test” at the exclusion of all else. We need voices that say, “Preparation for a rich life, not to mention a well-rounded childhood, includes many factors. Not all can be measured on a standardized test.”

We don’t teach music because it helps kids do better in math. We don’t teach kids music so they will read better. We teach music because music is part of growing up whole.