equip children for life, as the “good teacher” tries to do in the movies
by personalizing the curriculum (Dalton 36). In this sense, arts are a
threat to the “bad teachers” and administrators who are threatened by
anything that smacks of a loss of control so that they want every student
to conform to the mandated curriculum, to score well on standardized
tests, and not to question the institution of education. Music is different
and threatening because it a form of self-expression with the potential
to liberate students. Learning music is not measured by a standardized
test or dependent on besting the person in the seat next to you. In Music
of the Heart, Mr. Holland’s Opus, School of Rock, and Les Choristes, music
education is built around classes where learning is collaborative and
achievements are collective. Unlike most Hollywood movies featuring
good teachers who seem to be radical but really make modest changes
if any, there is something really subversive about the arts. This is a
power that should be tapped to unleash the threat that goes along with
liberation. It we let students think outside of the box in the movies
and in actual classrooms who knows what great things may happen.
It is well worth the risk to learn what powers music education can
unleash.
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