Yesterday my boyfriend told me about the new plan that his charter school has: If a student is failing in math they will be pulled from one of the following classes: music, theatre, or physical education - for the entire year- or at least a half year. The consolation for music was that the student would be able to attend the afterschool ensemble... except that the school got rid of the afterschool ensemble this year.
As a musician, this made me mad... as a student who nearly failed all my math topics begining with the multiplication table, and who exited math after beginning geometry and later got a masters degree in something else, this made me wonder 'What's the point?'... as a guest teacher aware that for certain students this music class is their belay cord to life, this made me very sad.
One of the collaboration directors of AldoandLeonardo sent along an article for us to read before we begin our wilderness collaboration. It is written by Bard College professor Daniel Berthold and was published in the Human Ecology Review, Vol.11, No.3, in 2004. Berthold explores Aldo Leopold's writing in 'Sand County Almanac' and quotes: "... education, I fear, is learning to see one thing by going blind to another." Is responsible educating the act of removing one side of the world of experience from a childs encounter in order to more solidly pound the other? Will removing a child from the study of rhythm based music solve their math deficiency? Is making a child study more math going to make them more successful in life than studying more music?
Is going blind to creative arts a worthy sacrifice to learning mathematics?
Berthold writes: "Science is born in wonder, in curiosity, in the experimentation with different prospectives, in the testing out of different ways of seeing and conceiving things." What if learning the circular, non-linear pattern of music study might actually be the key to uncovering the next important mathematical or scientific discovery later in that child's adult life as a scientist? (or, wait a minute, what if that child's contribution to society would be best realized as a musician?? or Actor, or Gymnast...)
Science+Art, not Science - Art.
A Wilderness Science and Art Collaboration
Aldo & Leonardo, a partnership between Colorado Art Ranch and the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute, is a project to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The project is inspired by the scientific wisdom of Aldo Leopold and the artistic genius of Leonardo da Vinci. Our endeavor is an interdisciplinary collaboration of artists and scientists designed to celebrate the lands, resources and opportunities protected by the Wilderness Act. In 2013, we are hosting one-month residencies in six diverse wilderness areas. Artists will work alongside wildland research scientists and gain firsthand knowledge of the wonders, complexities and challenges of our nation's wildest places. The result will be a body of work that creatively illustrates the value of wild areas and honors the scientific efforts to preserve wilderness for the next fifty years.