Letter to the Editor: Decision to Cut Music Program is 'Shortsighted'

Letter writer and PRHS alum Kimberly McKinnis implores school board not to cut music program.

I started in the music program at Wexford Elementary, playing flute with Miss Vaughan, and since then, music has completely shaped my life.

I participated in band, starting in elementary school, and in high school, I also added the pit orchestra for musicals and jazz band to my resume. The music program inspired me to start a flute choir at the high school, and I also did a shadow study conducting the middle school band.

I went on to study Music Education in college, and my goal was to receive a Masters in Music Therapy. In the same way Music Therapy can help heal, it helps shape youth.

I could go on about how music is closely related to math, and how I wasn't the only double major in both Music and Computer Science in my class at Westminster College. But by now you've probably heard all of those statistics.

I hope this testimonial can express just how important the Pine-Richland music
program was to me, and how much would be lost by cutting it back.

I remember in 7th and 8th grade general music classes, how I always looked forward to the end of class, where we got to sing along to the piano, generally oldies or other pop songs. That was probably the best part of my day, singing something fun. While I ended up with an engineering career and am currently at a startup in Silicon Valley, I still play and sing for fun.

I think this decision is shortsighted and will impact the development of children who miss out on all possible music programs. Marching band was one of the best experiences of my life.

Even for the students who won't study music past high school, it teaches discipline, and students develop a sense of camaraderie. How many students might not participate because they weren't exposed at young enough of an age?

I recognize that with schools having to meet government mandates for programs like No Child Left Behind, that cutting music seems like the easiest choice. However, there are so many studies linking music participation to better academics and even higher incomes later in life.

The arts, in particular, music, are incredibly important to education as a whole. I implore you to vote against this cut.

Kimberly McKinnis
PRHS Class of 1996


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