"We all know that when school budgets get tight, art and music
education are early casualties." says Bill Cirone, Santa Barbara County’s superintendent of schools.The opinions expressed are his own.
Traditionally, schools and classrooms are rated according to how students perform on standardized tests. You can scan those tests until you grow very weary, but you will never see mention of a treble clef or a two-point perspective.
Fortunately, our school and community leaders understand that the arts are essential elements of a complete education, and they often provide the very skills and motivation required for school success.
The Children’s Creative Project (CCP) plays such a vital role in arts education in our community. The CCP is a nonprofit organization under the umbrella of the County Education Office that partners with local school districts to bring high quality visual and performing arts instruction to our schoolchildren.
Earlier this school year — thanks to the fundraising of the annual I Madonnari festival and dynamic partnership of the CCP and UCSB’s Arts and Lecture series — Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning trumpeter, composer and music educator Wynton Marsalis reminded more thab 1,400 Santa Barbara County schoolchildren at the Granada Theatre of the joy, wonder and power of the arts.
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis delighted students with the music and stories of jazz legend Duke Ellington.
Jazz at Lincoln Center’s concerts are designed to spark curiosity and imagination through vivid conversation and lively performances that inspire audiences to dance in their seats.
Through interactive performances and lessons, Marsalis led the young audience gathered at the Granada on Duke’s journey from Washington, D.C. to New York City, while familiarizing students with jazz terms like riffs, breaks, and “shout chorus” in Ellington standards “Harlem Airshaft,” “Sea Jam Blues,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing” and other hits.
As Marsalis and his band demonstrated, the arts represent a form of thinking that is both sensory and intellectual, one that is based on human imagination and judgment. The arts are a form of expression and communication essential to the human experience, and truly deserve a regular place in our classrooms.