Any musician or music educator knows the manifold benefits and advantages that arts education of all kinds has for our children (see my earlier posts on this subject). It seems so obvious and proven beyond any faint shadow of a doubt that we all have worn dents in our foreheads from smacking them at the obtuseness of politicians who are determine to ignore the great advantages and joys of a well-rounded education that includes a healthy dose of creative arts study.
Why, oh, why do they think that way?! What is the matter with them? Is it so hard to discern that No Child Left Behind has fostered Every Child Left Behind?!
I may have chanced upon the answer to that question. Let us return now to yesterday for a short peek at a particular specimen of 130 year old journalism about the effects of brass playing; it is alarmingly difficult to refute the conjecture that this article is the secret central source of a certain attitude toward the arts apparently held by various contemporary politicians. Hold on to your hats. I quote (NYT article from July 28, 1880, public domain now, I believe):
The Brass Instrument Habit (anonymous)
It is generally conceded that the use of brass musical instruments has greatly increased in this country during the last ten years. Few persons, however, have any accurate idea of the appalling progress which this terrible vice has made. There is probably not a village in the whole country without its habitual and shameless players on the cornet, while the number of those who are addicted to brass instruments, either openly and to an extent which they call “moderate” or secretly and to a ruinous excess, is estimated by trustworthy statisticians to amount to fully 3 per cent of our entire adult population. In comparison with those figures the prevalence of drunkeness becomes insignificant and opium-eating hardly deserves notice.