Saturday, October 28, 2006

Perfect Harmony

This lovely Saturday morning, I enjoyed a wonderful movie, "Perfect Harmony," It is a Disney Production. As a music educator, it is one that I would love to be able to show my students but unfortunately no Disney movies can be played over our television system.

It is one that crosses racial boundaries. Young prep students attend a prominent school where music is an integral part of their upbringing. However, set in the 1950,s, there are racial boundaries in South Carolina that are not socially acceptable to cross.

Two young boys attempt to cross these boundaries. The lead choirboy (Taylor) becomes friends with a young African-American worker (Landy) at his school. They both learn to appreciate each other's style of music. Through sharing each others music(particularly the blues and the classical works of Handel), they become very good friends.

I wish to show this to my students this movie because of the demographics at my school. Seventy-one percent of our students are white, 16% African-American, and 13% of other ethnicity. I feel they will learn to appreciate different backgrounds and different styles of music.

I also feel it would maybe let these young guys hear how boys are supposed to sound at their age (9-12). Everyday I face the difficulty of at least one young man saying, "I'm not going to sing like a girl." Then, I try to explain to them about how their voice hasn't or will not change until they reach a certain age. I try to avoid using the word, puberty, but it doesn't always come out that way. Just as I made a comment, Chris posted it: "Too bad I can't teach them about castrati," puberty is really nothing compared to that.

Another issue I face at least once every year is, you need to talk about African-American music at a certain time, or there has to be some specific music for Black History month during events. I love some of the spirituals and love teaching them, and not just during Black History month. However, I think some African-Americans go to far in pushing their demands for Black History month. Hispanics have their own style of music but don't have a specified month for it's appreciation, neither do Caucasions for that matter. African-Americans brought about a lot of our popular styles today, but whites were also very instrumental in making music a written language.

If the movie taught me anything, it is that music is a universal language that can cross certain boundaries. It is to be heard by all. It is a way of expressing emotion that will stir our hearts to move beyond our racial, religous, stereotypical backgrounds. Let it move us, so we will realize God put us all here together for a reason.