The Worth of Music Education

The Worth of Music Education
By Amy Luskey-Barth, General Manager


Imagine a world without music. Without artistic expression.

As an arts advocate and educator for over thirty-five years I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to best articulate the value of arts programs in schools. The defense of the arts in education inevitably
leads to framing an argument that includes facts such as
How a child’s involvement in the arts helps to develop their self confidence.
How in the digital age of the 21st Century, the arts rely on face to face, eye to eye interaction thus
developing ever diminishing interpersonal communication skills.
How in our “instant text messaging” society, developing technique and striving for mastery through practice and rehearsal, is anything BUT instant requiring perseverance and patience.

Sometimes, advocating for the value of an arts education requires pointing out the quantifiable, statistical evidence of higher test scores among students who study music.

The importance of an arts education may be valued on the basis of the core competencies sought after by 21st century employers such as collaboration, team-work, flexibility, adaptability, leadership, problem
solving and analysis – all skills learned through involvement in the arts. What kind of human beings do we want to shape for the future?

Through Camerata’s two Educational outreach programs, Peace 4 Youth and the Camerata Children’s Music Academy, we are addressing this very question!

In the Peace 4 Youth program, we bring the social justice themed Peace Project concerts into the LBUSD Middle and High Schools. We prepare VAPA curriculum materials and present workshops to the schools’ choral students. They learn about the composers, the theme and are coached in a performance they present with our Camerata Ensemble in an Assembly with student narrators. Peace 4 Youth reaches approximately 500 students per school and we present the program to 3 schools in the fall and 3 in the spring.

Our Camerata Children’s Music Academy has expanded to three YMCA Pre-K locations. Our CCMA teaches music fundamentals to the children with an emphasis on vocal skills. Providing music education to young children who might otherwise not have access to such training is a start to overcoming inequities in music education. Camerata’s mission through its education program seeks to develop citizens of the world with empathy, appreciation for cultural diversity, a heart for social justice and a passion for music. As Albert Einstein said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

For more information about Camerata’s Music Education Programs contact