With March recognized as Music in Our Schools Month, students should appreciate music educators’ efforts of maintaining developed performing arts programs

Natalie Khamis

Within the realm of music education, March is known as Music in Our Schools Month. According to the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), this month-long initiative is dedicated to raise awareness for the importance of performing arts education in schools across the country.

As a member of the orchestra program in this school for the past four years, I never truly realized how privileged I was until I was faced with reality last month.

Over the Martin Luther King Jr. three-day weekend in January, I had the opportunity to play alongside some of the best student musicians throughout the state of Indiana in a two-day orchestra initiative called High School All-State Orchestra.

In between eight-hour rehearsals, I met a fellow violist in my section from northern Indiana. We started talking about our high school orchestra experiences and I told him all about our performing arts program at CHS—specifically how we have seven different classes of orchestra, band and choir that students can audition to be a part of.

The guy looked at me with such disbelief. He told me his school only had one orchestra class because his school did not have enough funding to expand the program. He said he had to rely on youth orchestras outside of his school like All-State Orchestra in order to experience what it is like to play in an advanced ensemble.

From time to time, we are reminded that we are fortunate enough to participate in one of the most developed performing arts programs in the entire nation. It is easy for Carmel student musicians to nod our heads to that statement and not think much of it. The norm for us is to win the Bands of America Grand National Championship three years in a row or to be able to play “Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9” at a high performance level from start to finish in only four months. But the fact is while we continue our yearly routines, other schools struggle to keep their music program alive due to lack of support or lack of funding.

The next time you enter an orchestra, band or choir room, I encourage you to appreciate that you are about to experience one of the best 90 minutes of instructed music education in the entire nation. We should never lose sight of the time and effort our music educators spend daily to make sure we gain the most out of our high school music experience.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Natalie Khamis at nkhamis@hilite.org

Read a story about pep band opportunities here.