Tuning out talent: Students and faculty neglect ETHS musicians


ETHS is losing its creativity.

The music department is on the verge of collapse, and there’s nobody to blame but us.

We don’t appreciate our music students, especially in comparison to athletes. We would all know if our basketball team or football team made it to the state competition, or even if they got to the playoffs.

Last year, ETHS sent 10 students to the IMEA state music competition for band and orchestra, with three finalists for composition. Did you know that?

Don’t worry, neither did most of us, unless we are affiliated with the arts department.

We have an immense palette of talented musicians and singers at our school, and it’s time for the students and staff to stop taking that for granted.

Why change is crucial

Arts programs are beginning to be cut across the country, and it’s important that we don’t let that plague reach us. According to a study done right here in Chicago, the gap between high-income and low-income education differences can be bridged by emphasis of the arts.

To graduate from ETHS, we need to complete at least three years of elective credits, including the required CTE and Consumer Ed. courses. This means that because the school requires four years of P.E. credit, the fine arts programs are losing precious time to help our education.

There are 41 fine arts classes offered at ETHS, and there are 20 physical education classes. This means that there are almost twice as many creative options for students than those that prioritize physical fitness.

Because there are four years of required P.E, the precious eight period slots that range over a four-year high school career, students with little time to spare (those who take three or more AP classes, or who take extra core classes) have no room to spread their creative wings and try new things.

According to Matthew Bufis, co-director of bands at ETHS, the music department has begun making a marketing push, adding concerts and trying to increase revenue for the 2014-2015 calendar.

This is just the beginning of what is required in order to improve ETHS’ standards in terms of artistic appreciation. Students will pack the house at a football game, but a Jazz Combo concert will attract no more than direct family and some friends, filling up the massive auditorium less than halfway.

Similarly, according to the No Child Left Behind law, the arts are considered a core subject and should be treated as such.

Whether it means reducing the amount of years for required P.E. classes or simply adding more periods to the schedule, students need to appreciate the entire arts department, music included, more than they are right now. If they don’t, we are in danger of losing it as a whole.