. . . from MENC: The National Association for Music Education
Music is a Science. It is exact, specific: and it demands exact acoustics. A conductor's full score is a chart, a graph which indicates frequencies, intensities, volume changes, melody and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time.
Music is Mathematical. It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions which must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper.
Music is a Foreign Language. Most of the terms are in Italian, German, or French: and the notation is certainly not English - but a highly developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas. The semantics of music is the most complete and universal language.
Music is History. Music usually reflects the environment and times of its creation, often even the country and/or racial feeling.
Music is Physical Education. It requires fantastic coordination of fingers, hands, arms, lip, cheek, and facial muscles, in addition to extraordinary control of the diaphragmatic, back, stomach, and chest muscles, which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and mind interprets.
Music is all these things, but most of all, Music is Art. It allows a human being to take all these dry, technically boring (but difficult) techniques and use them to create emotion. That is one thing science cannot duplicate; humanism, feeling, emotion, call it what you will.
Why teach Music? Not because we expect you to major in music ... Not because we expect you to play or sing all your life ... Not so you can relax ... Not so you can have fun ...
Why teach Music? So you will be human ... So you will recognize beauty ... So you will be sensitive ... So you will be closer to an infinite beyond this world ... So you will have something to cling to ... So you will have more love, more compassion; more gentleness, more good - in short, more life.
Of what value will it be to make a prosperous living unless you know how to live?
That is why we teach Music!