What We Can Learn from East Asian Education

Dear #classicalmusic fan,

It’s not necessary to dive into political discourse, so let’s look at Education as impartially as we can, shall we?

Simultaneously, as the West continues to make moves in removing music education from public school curricula, many countries in the East are trying to figure out how to include it.

Indeed, in China, every single child plays an instrument in their classroom at some point in their life – every day of the week for at least one academic year. In the UK many years ago, every single child would sing almost daily (but not anymore), whereas almost every child in East Asia who attends school now learns how to sing well and in a group (according to Katherine Czehut in her Harvard Doctoral dissertation “The Achievement Gap, Revisited: An Empirical Assessment of What We Can Learn from East Asian Education” in 2012). A few years back the USA started to focus on STEM which must have been one of the worst decisions any public official could have agreed to.

Recent efforts to reintegrate the Arts and make the curriculum more like STEAM are not making much headway.

Music is one of humankind’s most fundamental forms of communication, and especially helps us express emotions that we fail to articulate using words. Politicians in the West seem to want to suppress knowledgeable growth of such essential communication (with disastrous behavioral outcomes), while decision-makers in the East seem more enlightened and are figuring out ways to allow everyone an equal opportunity to explore music.

The dramatic transference of classical music’s cultural relevance even caught the attention of the New York Times a few years back in “Classical Music Looks Toward China With Hope” by Kahn and Wakin.

Politics and Education: two Establishments that are hot topics people love to yell and scream about, so let’s leave that point there, shall we?!

Admittedly, not many of my compositions include an East Asian influence, but there are a few that use the Pentatonic scale/ tonal system as a foundation.

Of the 55 pieces I’ve made available on Soundcloud, pick a couple at random to listen to (for free) and decide whether or not they have an “Eastern” musical influence.

https://soundcloud.com/stephenpbrown

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