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Recognizing the Benefits and Importance of School-Based Music Education

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. COOPER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

(Mr. COOPER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. COOPER. Mr. Speaker, I first would like to thank my new friend, the gentleman from New York (Mr. Kuhl). I believe he took the place of one of the great gentlemen of our time, Mr. Amo Houghton, who represented that area of New York State extremely well for many years. I would also like to thank my good friend from California (Mr. Cunningham) for his sponsorship of this bill.

This same measure passed the House of Representatives last session by 402 to zero, remarkable widespread and bipartisan support; and I wish we could see that level of support across our great Nation for music education in our schools, because this is truly a worthwhile endeavor.

I have the good fortune of representing Nashville, Tennessee, which as many of you know is Music City, USA. Nashville and the surrounding communities are probably home to more singers, song writers, and talented musicians than perhaps any other community in the world. It is truly a remarkably creative place. We like to say that literally everyone who lives there is a singer, song writer, or musician. It is just that some of them have not cut their demos yet.

There is so much that music offers, and we should be able to support music for its own sake. But as my friend, the gentleman from New York (Mr. Kuhl), has already said, music helps so many other endeavors in school as well: math, science. It helps kids of all types as well. It helps our high-achieving kids, and it helps our low-achieving kids. So this is a truly valuable part of our school curriculum. It should be offered in all our schools so all of our children have the chance to learn the joys of music.

I think as many of you all realize, some of the most important intimate moments of our lives are usually associated with a song, a song that we carry in our hearts throughout our days and a song that was written somewhere, sometime by a remarkably talented individual who found that song in his or her heart.

So music is important to our lives. It is important that we cultivate a love for music from the age of our youngest children so that they can grow up and develop their full God-given potential, whether it be music or whether it be math or science or reading or art or any of the other great disciplines that they are learning in our school systems.

So I would encourage Members to support this resolution.

I would encourage our local school boards across the country not to repeat the mistake that we saw evidenced in that movie called Mr. Holland's Opus. Some of my colleagues may have seen it. It is a story of a fabulous schoolteacher, a music teacher and a school system, who knows where, who taught so well for decades, who taught band, introducing kids to the pleasure of marching music as well as an introduction to other forms of music, and yet, in the case of Mr. Holland, he was terminated by the local school board for lack of funds.

It is important that our children have a broad, balanced education, that it include music, and there is no better time than the month of March for that love of music to demonstrate.

So I appreciate my colleagues in the House. I appreciate the Committee on Education and the Workforce allowing a waiver of the normal jurisdiction so the bill could be brought forward in a timely manner.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.


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