While I’m a fan of all musical instruments, I think it’s high time that schools start to recognize the tremendous role that electronic instruments play in all the music that we know and love today. The classics will always be around but as generations progress, the music of choice that kids parents are listening to are more likely to be the classics of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. I go out of my way to educate our kids about Sinatra, Big Bands, Nancy Wilson and the like as well as the artists I grew up with in the 70’s and 80’s. Radio, more than ever, is everywhere and you can listen to just about anything your heart desires whether its via the standard airwaves, the Internet or satellite/cable programming. YouTube offers a plethora of choice and seems to win the war of the airwaves due to the fact you can watch your favorite artists at the same time as you listen to them. Technology has grabbed hold of the music industry and bent it on it’s ear, so to speak. So why are the kids still learning to play the friggen tuba and French horn? No disrespect to those instruments but for the last 50 years of pop music, there’s nary a tuba to be heard. Our son arrived home from school today and was very excited about music class. This is the first year (grade 7) that instrumental music is offered in public school. He’s set on learning to play the flute. (I’m guessing because it’s the lightest instrument to carry home.) I’ll certainly support any choice he makes but suggested that, of all the instruments offered by the school, the saxophone is probably the most “in demand” in music today. That didn’t seem to concern him too much however. I can guarantee you this though; Had the multi-instrumental capabilities of GarageBand been offered to him, he’d have jumped at it. Not only is an iPad light but it’s also remarkably diverse with the choice of instruments offered. And seriously, why learn to play a flute when that’s the only sound it will make? You can’t make a flute sound like a piano. Why not learn the piano? The piano now triggers all instruments, including drums and flutes. Furthermore, every pop record being made today is comprised of electronic instruments and if you’re ever going to get a job as a musician, being a pianist is the job that’s in the highest of demand. I don’t personally know anyone that learned to play the tuba in high school and is still playing it today, or any other “band” instrument. The budget to purchase these instruments and maintain them is enormous, not to mention the space they occupy in a music class. Times that by an entire school district and you’ve got one hell of a chunk of cash sponging off an already depleted department. Educators and administrators have been arguing the merits of music classes in school for quite awhile now and when I look at their arguments in this light, it’s hard to disagree. However, if music classes were brought into the future and treated with the respect they deserve, I feel it would be a win/win all the way across the board. We should be teaching our kids how to create music they enjoy rather than force feeding them with archaic marching songs played on smelly old (heavy) instruments. We should be teaching kids how to create a broadcast, a soundtrack, a song that they could actually make a living on. Technology has placed unlimited possibilities in the hands of anyone who wished to give it a go. It’s not like it used to be where a musician would have to spend tens of thousands of dollars on instruments and recording studios, after which to spend more on managers, producers, engineers, record companies, promotion etc., etc. As a musician/educator, I find it very embarrassing that we’re failing to introduce our youth to the future of music/film/publishing when it’s now, easier than ever. Book your Garageband Workshop today!