The quality of the Fine Arts is a defining factor for any society that aspires to be a great society.
I dare anyone to try to play a violin, a viola or a cello. Just the physical part of moving your right arm holding a bow and making an acceptable sound on one of four strings is difficult even at a very slow speed. Add in the hand of the left arm and precisely place your fingers on the same string the bow is vibrating to make an acceptable sound. Easy? Add changing fingers to change the note and at the same time move the bow in the opposite direction. Still easy? Now, do that with several others at the exact same time, with a time-beat, and speed it up. Maybe add a third note to that so what you play is heard as a melody – a song.
I attended the “Frosty Fiddles” concert sponsored by the Arrowhead Arts Association at Mary Putnam Henck Intermediate School a few days ago. The multi-purpose room was packed with parents justifiably proud of the accomplishments of the young musicians in their families. I heard 8- and 9-year-olds easily do what I described in the opening paragraph. They were the Beginners. I heard the next level of children, then the more advanced, and on to the apex group of students, the Young Artists Ensemble, playing some very difficult, complex music. Some were as young as 9 but most were middle to high school ages, 12 to 17.
Our society loves music; it is a multi-billion-dollar industry! Concert venues for pop, jazz and classical music are generally sold-out performances. Unlike other enjoyable aspects of our society where we know the inner working details, most Americans know very little of the basic elements of music that when put together by talented people create the music they love so much.
You cannot have children do what I heard without years-long support and expert instruction.
The mission of the Arrowhead Arts Association is a generous and brilliant idea enacted to fill that knowledge and appreciation gap beginning with our young children in K through 3 classrooms and continuing as instrument performance from grade 4 through high school, and even includes substantial scholarships for the young musician wishing to pursue advanced opportunities in college!
There is nothing comparable to that astonishing level of social commitment in our mountain communities that I am aware of.
My applause and best wishes to the governing board of Arrowhead Arts, to the excellent teachers in the elementary schools and to the outstanding instrumental performance teachers of the musical groups in our community. Your work is very successful, very much needed and deeply appreciated.