They should be core. The United States has figured this out, now it's time for Alberta to catch up.
But Alberta Education needs to hear this from you, Alberta students and parents.
As a music teacher and pedagogue, my research has helped reaffirm the link between music and what it means to be human. Too often people equate music to "making you smarter", namely referring to a since-debunked study that linked math results to music. Others say music should be appreciated on it's own value and merits. Some say music is a form of expression, a "universal language". Some people say great music is literature created by masters and should stand the test of time.
I say very differently. I say music is no object. It is an action. To music is to engage in listening, performing, responding and collaborating in music. To music is to share with one another something that makes each one of us unique; our musical "tastes" are just as unique from one person to the next as is our DNA. What this means is that our ability to music is essential to our humanness.
Education on the whole has as its fundamental purpose the development of humans, becoming more fully human, to serve their fellow humans in love and respect as contributing members of society. Everything built into the curriculum is an objective that formulates the development of something that only humans can do; write poetry (sometimes in multiple languages), solve complex quadratic equations, harness solar energy, collaborate respectfully within a society of like- and unlike-minded people, sink a free-throw consistently, make chicken cordon bleu, assemble a car engine, sell and trade, rationally defend a system of beliefs ...
And act. And art. And dance.
Music Education is where I work most, and it has as its fundamental purpose the development of all students as lifelong musickers, people who more fully realize what it means to be uniquely human. Whether you are a religious person or not (although it meshes perfectly with Christianity and most other mainstream religions), there is no higher purpose than to become more fully human, more fully you (to the glory of God).
Only humans can music. To suggest that music, or any of the arts, is not core is to suggest that it is not essential to our humanness. Therefore music must be core.
But you, as parents of students in music, already know this. Alberta Education needs to hear it themselves.
This is why I'm asking you to fill out the Online Curriculum Survey, to share the merits, the challenges, and the needs of our curriculum right now. This is your chance to have your voice heard.
I think you know a big part of what I'm going to say. Now it's up to you.
Mr. Windsor will provide you with some interesting hints, help, advice, and resources on this page.