in me is one that continues to provide me with an outlet for self-
expression and with self-confidence. I also use music just as teachers
do with their classes. I create songs to remember things for school just
like Ron Clark and Maria. I sing to liberate myself be it in the car,
connecting with a character in a favorite musical, or singing Christmas
songs in August for mental a escape from the intense summer heat of
eastern North Carolina. Finally, I find my own self-actualization as I
tickle the ivories of the baby grand piano at my parents’ house.
Frequently, movies create a visual incarnation of my own personal
dreams I have never known how to express. To me, the most powerful
movie of music education is, without a doubt, Les Choristes. In this film,
I have watched Monsieur Mathieu transform the lives of the troubled
students at Fond de L’Etang time and time again. In moments when I
want to dream of my own self-actualization through music, I can replay
a scene of Les Choristes in which Pierre Morthange flawlessly performs
“La Nuit” for a sponsor of the crumbling boarding school. At this
moment, it is clear that Monsieur Mathieu has changed the lives of the
boys in the choir. I will never sound like Pierre or any of the other
students in these films, and that is all right. Through watching
Hollywood’s stories of success, I can be part of the show. Through
these films, I see the transformative power of my music, and through
my own life, I can feel it.
The decline in arts education is linked to the notion that there
should be a return on investment in education (Dalton 162). While this
is extremely evident in universities and is related to the high cost of
tuition, the idea has certainly trickled down to primary education where
costs are being cut and the arts are the first thing to go. Arts enable us
to be fully human, and studies have shown, too, the therapeutic ability
of the arts. The Children’s Emergency Service of the University
Hospital in Salamanca has conducted case studies that prove human
betterment when the arts are integrated into a children’s hospital (Ullan
34). A child does not have to be dying to benefit from the comforting
and humanization of arts, however. The true purpose of education is
for children to live out their full potential, and an education meant to
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