Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Rock and Roll High School

As a parent of a child about to enter high school, I am acutely aware of Nashville’s educational options. Without trying to start a debate, it seems to me that unless a child is (a) extremely bright; and (b) extremely lucky, their quality public school options are limited. Having said that, I have been generally impressed with the school board’s establishment of magnet high schools that are geared towards certain academic skills and interests. For example, the Nashville School of the Arts nurtures young performers and other artistically inclined students. There are also schools that specialize in science and math.

I was dumbfounded to learn of a recent proposal to turn Pearl Cohn High School into a school with an emphasis on “music business.” If I understand correctly, part of the school’s curriculum would be to educate young scholars to enter into the music business. There are already music business curriculums at three local universities: Belmont, MTSU and Trevecca, last time I checked. Also, last time I checked, there really weren’t any jobs in the music business.

There is certainly merit in offering these courses on the college level. Indeed, I have taught music business law and copyright law on the college level for fifteen years. However, I believe the idea of offering this type of instruction to high school students is meaningless. High school kids who are interested in music should either be playing music or obsessed with listening to music, or both. I remember my friend and former law partner, now uber-manager Ken Levitan telling me that when he was a kid he had a subscription to both Billboard and Sports Illustrated. I think an interest in the music business should grow out of curiosity (or obsession) and it should not be a high school’s mission to try to teach it. Respectfully, I think high school is the time to teach kids critical thinking about the world around them, as well as practical things such as how to dissect stuff and how to balance a bank account. Preparing them for four years of college that would prepare them for a job that may not be there when they graduate just seems irresponsible.


Kathleen said...

Wow, that's crazy, Trip! I couldn't agree with you more on this.

Scott said...

This is great Trip.
Perhaps the Pearl Cohn program has been developed as a 'feeder' program for the other three local universities mentioned in order for those universities to increase their bottom line at the expense of all of the budding artistic youth in Nashville.