What was your inspiration to make this video?
Jason: David and I are musicians ourselves. Here at Fraser, we’re very fortunate to have an extremely strong performing arts department, but many departments around us and of course around the nation are cutting the programs due to lack of funds, even lack of interest in the students. So we thought, let’s see what industry professionals think about it and what students here at Fraser think about it because we’re such a performing arts-based school.
How did you decide who to interview?
David: Well, we actually kind of brainstormed a little bit, thinking, who would have good opinions? And one of the pieces of information we found was an article by a music professor from the University of Michigan, George Shirley. We just picked people we figured would be the best, would have the most ideas, would have the most information about the topic of performing arts in education.
Jason: Here in Detroit we do have a strong music industry, with the whole Motown thing, and the University of Michigan has a really strong music department itself. We were lucky to go to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, an internationally renowned symphony, (for an interview). So, the possibilities were endless on who we could interview.
David: It was really just making the calls and doing the leg work.
What musical instruments do you play? How did your personal experiences influence this piece?
David: I play trumpet, guitar, piano, percussion and a little bit of bass.
Jason: I’m a professional percussionist, have been very heavily involved with the music industry for about 10 years and growing up, I’ve been able to have really good music education. I’ve been through it, so it makes me really sad to see that other kids who may be interested in music aren’t getting the education that they want.
Do you have advice for students who want to pursue music despite cuts happening in school arts programs?
Jason: If your school district doesn’t have a good music program, go out and find a good teacher. They will steer you in the right direction and tell you what you need to know. If you’re passionate about it, you just need to practice and try to stay connected with what you love.
David: We interviewed Michael Spiegel from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and he had some really great things to say (about that). He said, “If you really want a music program, talk to your superintendent, let people know it’s important to you. Get a group of people together and go start it up.”