To think music/art/drama etc should be optional at schools?

(160 Posts)
LunaLoveg00d Fri 10-Jun-16 08:10:19

I have one child who is in his second year at secondary school (Scotland) who is so un-musical it is not true. He cannot carry a tune in a bucket, has zero interest in music, cannot differentiate between a tuba or a violin when he hears it and has never shown any interest in playing an instrument. We have just had his end of year report which on the whole is VERY positive apart from the music/art reports which basically say he is unhappy in the class, makes some effort but has a long way to go and his ability is very low. He is very down about the fact he has to endure 2 periods a week of compulsory music and another of art for another year before he can drop them. Drama he enjoys a bit more, but he has very little interest in it either.

i think the problem I have with these "talent" subjects is that unlike the traditional maths/english/science, they can only be taught to some extent. Even the best teachers in the world are not going to turn a child with zero artistic or musical talent into Picasso or Mozart. Or even someone who could pass an exam in it. On the flip side, good teachers can support and teach most children (obviously excluding some with SEN) to achieve passes in English, Maths, Science, History etc.

So would it not be better to leave the talent subjects at secondary to those who have ability in them?

saoirse31 Fri 10-Jun-16 08:15:28

Totally disagree, surely he's learning something about music and art. Hearing stuff he wouldn't otherwise here etc? Think I'd be telling him not to worry about marks but just to enjoy in so far as he can.

If everyone only learned stuff they were good at and liked, they might not learn too much.

GreatFuckability Fri 10-Jun-16 08:18:56

I also disagree, arts based classes broaden the education and perspective. Obviously some people have a more natural ability bur that is also true of academic work, you can still learn things and improve through effort in these subjects.

Oysterbabe Fri 10-Jun-16 08:23:50

But when would the decision be made to drop them? They need to at least do them initially to see how they get on. I think dropping them after year 9 is about right.

StillDrSethHazlittMD Fri 10-Jun-16 08:23:53

Some people don't have an aptitude for maths and struggle hugely. My dad was one of them. So, your argument that "talent" subjects "can only be taught to some extent" can apply just as equally to every other subject depending on the child concerned. Therefore, YABVU.

I was shit at PE. Others have a natural talent for it. Should I have been allowed to skip these classes? Of course not. You need a general grounding in everything while you're young to help to grow and to discover what you do like, what you're good at, what you don't like and then when you've got sufficient sense you can drop subjects and focus on your strongest ones.

Christ what a fucking philistine place it would be in 30 years' time if we stopped children doing music and drama. One of the few areas the country still excels in and is recognised as such around the world.

Wellthatsit Fri 10-Jun-16 08:26:21

Mmm, it sounds as if the problem is that he has zero interest in the subject rather than zero ability. If he is generally bright and doing well in other subjects he could, if he wanted to, make progress in music and art, if the teachers are good.
Your comments show that you don't value those subjects and neither does he. Fair enough, but that doesn't mean kids should be let off the hook. Would the same apply for other so-called talent subjects, like PE or cooking, or even craft, design and technology? ??

LahLahsBigBand Fri 10-Jun-16 08:26:53

On the contrary, I think they should be compulsory. Creativity is what will give our children the edge in the future. No one expects school art/music to create a generation of picassos/mozarts, but to activate the creative potential in every child.

tabulahrasa Fri 10-Jun-16 08:27:01

They're not talent subjects...they don't just teach them to play music or do art, they teach them the theories behind them.

They don't need talent to make progress either, just to actually take part in lessons.

claraschu Fri 10-Jun-16 08:29:55

I think the problem is that there is not enough time and effort put into arts subjects, as they are seen to be unimportant. I agree there is probably no point in making an uninterested, unenthusiastic child (with very un-encouraging parents at home) sit through 2 periods a week of third-rate music classes.

I think if arts subjects were taught really well and made a priority all through school, the world would be a better place.

Witchend Fri 10-Jun-16 08:31:15

I have no talent for spelling. I should have been allowed to drop English by your argument.

Egosumgism Fri 10-Jun-16 08:32:12

They aren't "talent" subjects as others have said. Music is a pure form of mathematics.

Regarding drama, someone recently suggested on another thread how students from public school excel in 'soft' skills like public speaking. I suspect they're correct and the performing arts offer students a time to become more adept at honing these important skills.

Learning to persevere despite not being especially great at a subject is another key skill.

I hope you're keeping your opinions to yourself and not sharing them with your child.

VoyageOfDad Fri 10-Jun-16 08:33:34

It's a bit of a myth that you need to be 'talented' to pick up 'art' .

Things like life drawing are largely down to practice rather that an inherent talent. Same with music.

Same as any subject.

And the creative industry in the UK is one of the biggest income generators there is.

LunaLoveg00d Fri 10-Jun-16 08:36:14

You do need talent to progress in Music and Art though - if you can't sing or are tone deaf you will not progress however much you are taught. They are doing learning about the instruments of the orchestra and famous composers which he enjoys more, but the practical element of being expected to pick out chords on a guitar and knowing if the sound is correct is a talent.

There are SO many ways to be creative - building lego, creative writing, photography, dance, etc - but understandably Art and Music have set curriculums and children have to do what the teacher tells them. I also firmly believe that by the time children hit secondary age in Scotland (11.5 as a minimum), that they will be well aware of whether they have artistic or musical potential or not.

CaptainCrunch Fri 10-Jun-16 08:37:40

Disagree completely. It doesn't do pupils any harm to realise they're not instantly brilliant at everything and you can be successfully taught to draw and sing, it's no different from maths and literary.

ifyoulikepinacolada Fri 10-Jun-16 08:39:40

Yab very u. There are so many peripheral skills taught in these classes - observation, teamwork, persistence, communication, creative thinking... He doesn't have to be able to paint well, no, but what a poor world we would live in if we were only taught the things we could already do.

I don't believe your son has no interest in any kind of music or visual arts at all - has he never watched TV?! Sorry, but I think he needs to buck up his ideas and try a bit harder. Learning that some things take more effort than others, and you get out what you put in will take him further than he knows.

FantasticButtocks Fri 10-Jun-16 08:40:49

please watch this

CaptainCrunch Fri 10-Jun-16 08:41:05

I also hope you're not sharing this opinion openly with your ds but I suspect you probably are, it's a very blinkered, bias stance, you should be encouraging a growth mindset, not "yeah you're rubbish at that, give up".

Lurkedforever1 Fri 10-Jun-16 08:42:24

Yabu. I'm crap at both art and music, and don't enjoy doing either. Something I have known from being a young child. But for every child like me, there are probably 10 who would choose not to do them, because they've never experienced them properly, or because of peer pressure, and would potentially miss out. So much better the dc like me have to just put up with it.

Also, i think the lack of opportunity for many children to learn/ experience music is a disgrace, and we need more in schools, not less. Just because I don't enjoy it, I'm not selfish enough to want others to be prevented from finding out if they do.

GreatFuckability Fri 10-Jun-16 08:42:37

Some of the greatest musicians of our time didn't pick up a guitar/drum stick/violin until their late teens.

LunaLoveg00d Fri 10-Jun-16 08:45:43

encouraging a growth mindset, not "yeah you're rubbish at that, give up".

Not at all - but you play to your strengths and concentrate on what you're good at. For some kids, that will be Art or Music. For other kids it's not. I don't think it's really that positive to keep trying to force a musical composition out of a child who has never picked up a musical instrument in their life. 100 minutes of music a week is a LOT.

branofthemist Fri 10-Jun-16 08:47:35

You do need talent to progress in Music and Art though - if you can't sing or are tone deaf you will not progress however much you are taught.

I am tone deaf and can still read music and play the piano.

My brother is fantastic at maths. Has a real talent for it. I don't, I can't drop maths on that basis.

Brother was shit at art, but took GCSEs art as he really enjoyed doing it. It was great for him as he had a subject that was about enjoying it not stressing about the result. He knew it wouldn't be great.

MrsJayy Fri 10-Jun-16 08:50:25

In DDS Scottish high school they had opt in of music art etc fot 2nd years it daft forcing a non arty child to take arty subjects

LunaLoveg00d Fri 10-Jun-16 08:52:22

At the end of second year he has to made his choices for the following year, they have to keep at least one of art/drama/music and I suspect it will be drama. Public speaking and presentation skills are going to be important going forward whatever your career and drama will help develop those.

branofthemist Fri 10-Jun-16 08:55:05

There are SO many ways to be creative - building lego, creative writing, photography, dance, etc - but understandably Art and Music have set curriculums and children have to do what the teacher tells them.

Everything has a curriculum. That's how it works

bruffin Fri 10-Jun-16 09:00:01

Photography is usually part of the art curriculum. My ds cant draw for toffee but is a very good photographer (won prizes) He has also very creative using digital art.

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