Music & Art Education

One of the things that personally interests me is the impact of art on individual lives whether it be music, painting or literature.

A couple of years ago, I was at the Chicago Institute of Art looking at the work of one of my favorite modern painters, Paul Klee. I happened to notice a group of high school students on a class trip quickly moving through the galleries checking out paintings and  taking notes and sketching. There was one exception. One young high school students was staring at a Paul Klee painting that I had  looked at before moving on. He was at this one painting for a sustained period of time. I left the gallery at one point to look at some Picasso paintings and the returned to find him at the same painting.  – Looking.

At that point, I struck up a brief conversation with him. He told me he had never heard of Paul Klee, didn’t know why he liked the painting but thought it was “pretty cool”. I thought it was “pretty cool”  that  he was thrilled about this one painting while being surrounded by works that were more “famous“.

I told him that Klee was one of my favorite painters and that I had grown up looking at his paintings at the Phillips Collection in Washington.  I quickly left him to continue my tour of the museum but left with a feeling of that I had met a high school student who would never again look at a field trip to the art museum as a requirement but as something much more personal.

At this time, I would like to point you to a Bill Clinton interview that I saw recently. Please put aside any issues that you may have with his past history or politics in general and check out Elvis Costello interviewing Bill Clinton about music on the first season of Spectacle.

A former president at one time considered going into jazz full time. It was toss up between jazz and politics. I won’t go into the nuances of the spectacular life training that any education in the arts provides but I was personally blown away by the depth of Clinton’s musical knowledge and how he continues to interact with music.