Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mails from Mom

My mom sends me a multitude of emails, many of which are articles she finds of interest with one-liner comments like, "Haven't I been saying this all along? Love, Mom".

I, of course, did not inherit the brevity gene from her and tend to write back these lengthy analyses of not only the story she sent me but any and all issues surrounding it. Case in point: today's Mail from Mom.

(By the way, Mom's a music teacher [in addition to being a Spanish teacher] which is probably a helpful insight.)

Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2007
From: Mom
To: Jamee
CC: Subject: Yahoo! News Story - Music lessons pay off in higher earnings: poll

Mom has sent you a news article. > (Email address has not been verified.)
Personal message:> > Duh! I could have told you this all along!

> > Music lessons pay off in higher earnings: poll - Yahoo! News> >

From: Jamee
To: Mom
RE: Yahoo! News Story - Music lessons pay off in higher earnings: poll
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2007

Well, I'd definitely agree that learning music gives one a huge leg up intellectually. I really don't think there's any doubt about that. However, what they're completely leaving out of this data is the socio-economic factor.

Basically, if your parents had enough money to send you to music lessons then chances are you were expected to go to college, etc. just by virtue of your parents being in the middle/upper middle class/wealthy echelons of society. On occasion you get the kid from the projects who was exposed to music, went to college and became a successful adult but, factually speaking, those numbers are much lower.

On the whole, the kids who got the music lessons tended to be the ones who were going to have a better/easier shot at success in life from the get-go because their parents had a.) the interest and b.) the financial ability (I'm not saying parents from lower socio-economic classes don't have the interest because I'm confident they do. However, for this theory to work most effectively, both factors need to be in place) to create that kind of environment for them - a kind of success 'cocoon'. All those kids had to do was choose whether or not they wanted to put in the effort necessary to achieve success in said cocoon which was, when you consider the challenges the kid in the projects faces, essentially under ideal or near ideal circumstances.

Again, this is not to refute any evidence of how integral music and the arts are in the advancement of society. They're pivotal and it's no coincidence that as we see the demise (and the homogenization) of society upon us, we also see the steady decline in our value of the arts in any measurable way. The kids who are exposed to the arts and music these days, especially those who receive quality instruction, are fortunate and they will have an inarguable advantage in life over those who do not.


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