Our Readers' Opinions
September 28, 2007

Is music part of our children’s education?

by Brian Alexander 28.SEP.07

Education without music shortchanges our children and their futures. I am dumfounded that there is little or no importance placed on music in the education system in SVG.{{more}}

While I dare say, most people including the present ULP Administration see music as a subject with no seriousness attached to it, I would proffer the argument that music is the most important manifestation of our cultural heritage. The extrapolation of this argument begs the question why is music not taught in elementary schools and made a compulsory subject, like Math and English? Anyone who has done music will know that music expands avenues of success for students who may have problems in other areas of the curriculum and opens the approach to learning that can be applied in other contexts. Music sharpens the student’s sensitivity, raising their level of appreciation, and expanding their horizons.

Every student should therefore be exposed to music and music appreciation to enable the fullest development of the potential of our young people.

The foundation was laid. So are we going backward?

As far back as 1962, music was a subject that was taught in elementary schools. Mr. Pat Prescod, SVG’s musical icon, was the Chief Music Officer for the entire country. There were teachers in all schools with music training who taught our students the finer points of music appreciation and helped them to develop a sophisticated ear. In 1956 The SVG Music Association organized the first “National Music Festival”, which was held every two years. In the early years mass choirs were formed in the constituencies and these choirs competed for various titles during the national festival. SVG was abuzz with students interested in learning music and as a natural consequence the other subjects. Much later [in 1985] there was the formation of the National Youth Band, the “brain child” of Mr. Joffre Venner which produced musical bards such as Kemuel Spence who now holds a masters degree in Music and Shernell Williams [the Skarpyon] one of our more progressive young artistes.

Music should be a part of all Schools Curriculum!

It is undisputed that students who have music as part and parcel of their overall development, excel in the other subjects. For the benefit of future generations I therefore beg the powers that be to reintroduce music as a compulsory subject in all schools. Even if we give it a try for a set period, and then take a good long look at the results. What can the harm be other than a more rounded and proficient student and graduate.