Fine arts requirement is necessary and rewarding

Above, WHS students play flutes as part of a band concert. According to Maddie Memoli and Maddie Conroy, the fine arts requirement at WHS is necessary and rewarding. "All the fine arts requirement is trying to do is open up a different world of learning to students, so they can make an informed decision on whether or not they would like to pursue taking fine arts classes."

Yes, we all took art and music in middle school, but are paper mache animal masks and dulcimer practice really comparable to the masterpieces that high school students can create?

According to “Students describe WHS arts experience,” one student said, “I took art in middle school, and it wasn’t my favorite class, but I thought I could enjoy it more with a really strong teacher. I love being artistic.”

Even for those who don’t define themselves as artistic, a high school fine arts course can be a much more informative and rewarding experience than previous arts classes were. By taking fine arts courses in high school, students can discover that they enjoy art or have artistic talents.

Even for those who don’t love high school arts classes, these courses still offer important benefits and are an important part of any student’s education. If someone believes he is not a “math person,” then why is he being forced to take a math class? And let’s say a student has picked history to be her life ambition, why must she take all her other subjects? Why should gym be required if fine arts is not? If a student does not believe that he is athletic and does not appreciate the time taken from his schedule to take gym, why is he being forced to take more years of gym class? The answer to these questions is that all these courses make WHS pupils well-rounded students as well as well-rounded people. Without a requirement to take all of these courses, no student would willingly place themselves in all of these classes, but the classes are still very valuable.

What many students who are disgruntled by the fine arts requirement are overlooking is the state’s recommendation that a school like Wayland, with a goal of sending its students off to respected colleges, should require two years of fine arts. Wayland High School is choosing to only require one year. It takes much longer than one year for a student to develop an artistic ability or appreciation. But requiring one year of fine arts classes does open up the opportunity for students to experience a fine arts course and choose to participate in the classes in future years.

The fine arts requirement is not trying to force every student to become an art major in college. Instead, this requirement helps students gain an appreciation for the arts and the responsibility that goes along with acquiring a skill. By allowing students to learn to better themselves when a grade is not the final verdict, these courses teach students to show their character and willingness to work towards mastery.

The assumption that the fine arts are inherently less valuable than subjects like mathematics or language has been disproved. Music has been shown to improve a student’s performance in mathematics. Creativity is an extremely valuable skill in the real world, especially when it comes to developing new products. Creativity can be enhanced by studying the fine arts.

The fine arts also offer a different learning environment that teaches students to be independent learners. Most importantly though, the fine arts bring together students who wouldn’t normally interact on a daily basis because they may be in different grades or class levels.

As Steve Jobs said, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” All the fine arts requirement is trying to do is open up a different world of learning to students, so they can make an informed decision on whether or not they would like to pursue taking fine arts classes.

This article was written in response to “Should fine arts be required?“.

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