I truly believe music to be not an extracurricular subject to be studied by overachieving students, but a fundamental and universal academic pursuit that all students ought to experience to some varying degree. Nowhere in our society can you escape music. It is in our homes, on our television, in movies, plays, department stores, restaurants, street corners, even elevators and restrooms. Music is pervasive in our culture, a part of every human being, and something we experience every day, which is more than can be said for many other liberal arts subjects our students are required to study.
I also believe that music is such a universal because it is one of those elements that separates man from the animals. Cultures all around the globe have their own musical traditions and many times, when studied, no matter how different they may appear on the surface, they share much in common. It is a universal desire in man to make music and be in harmony with his fellow man, to express his feelings and thoughts, his innermost being through music.
As a music educator, one of my primary responsibilities towards my students is to make sure they appreciate music fully. It should be much more than just a fun thing they do at football games or on weekends. Only through knowledge of music's origins and influences do we begin to truly appreciate it, and I hope to always ingrain in my students a desire to know not just how to play the music, but to understand where the music originated. Music is far more than simply attaining a Division I at contest, and if I don't convey that fact to my students, then I am, at least in part, failing as a music educator and a fellow musician.
Above all, I believe my responsibilities are threefold: That my students are learning about music (more than just the notes), that they are enjoying music and having fun with it, and that they gain life experiences within the context of a music ensemble. The ensemble experience allows students to work together for a common goal greater than any other medium in today's school academics. Whereas sports are inherently competitive in nature pitting students against one another, musicianship within an ensemble is inherently community oriented. Musicians' only competition is against themselves and their own abilities, that they might produce music of the highest caliber and touch the souls of their audience.
In the course of my career as a music educator, I will help my students experience music in a fun, living, deeply moving fashion while at the same time granting them skills that they can take with them forever in their lives; I will create harmony among my students, just as harmony exists within the perfect performance; and I will give students a deeper understanding of music, a cultural keystone in our daily lives for millennia. Through these goals I will fulfill my self-assigned duty as a music educator, and music education will have proved worthy by its own merit.