When Newington named its teacher of the year, it caught our attention. In today’s STEM-crazy atmosphere, the school system chose Brian Kelly, who is the K-12 Music Department program leader and the director of bands at John Wallace Middle School.
Don’t get us wrong! We fully understand and support the emphasis on science, math and technology. Without a thorough knowledge in these areas, today’s students will have a hard time moving ahead in tomorrow’s workplace. At the same time, we believe that, to be a fully rounded person, a relationship with the arts is important.
The visual arts and great literature offer insights in our humanity and Kelly’s specialty, music, not only reaches into our soul but also teaches self-discipline, the ability to patiently work toward mastering a challenge and, in the band that Kelly leads, the necessity to work with others. And some studies suggest that it even contributes to the understanding of mathematics. The great sage, Pythagoras, he of the Pythagorean theorem, said, “There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.”
Thus, we’d like to do two things today. First, we’d like to join in the appreciation for a man who has devoted his life to teaching children the wonders of music and its ability to touch the human spirit; congratulations. And congratulations, too, to Newington’s leaders who, even in the age of STEM, recognized the importance of the arts.
As we see it, it’s vital that our children grow up knowledgeable about every aspect of human achievement - and none is more important or more enduring than music.