Judith Green, interviewed by Kate Rowell, November 14, 2017
Location of interview: Cooperstown, New York
Judith Green grew up in Syracuse, New York and studied music education at Syracuse University. She worked as a music teacher in Watertown and Cooperstown, New York and taught elementary, middle, and high school students. In this story, she talks about why learning to play musical instruments is important.
JG: You know, math is a big part of music education, I think most people don’t think about [that]. It’s a good discipline, but also good for expression. You have to be disciplined in order to be artistic, to some extent, you can’t just run off and throw things together. You have to have some idea of what you’re doing. I think that music education teaches that, it’s part of it. I mean, there have been times where someone would say “Well, you know my father says that this is not important, that I don’t need to do this.” Which really upset me, and I had to be calm about saying, “That’s not true. There are so many things you’re going to do. It doesn’t have to be classical music, but it would be nice to know what you’re doing and to express yourself.” And I think that when you get a chance to let kids express themselves, then they’re proud of themselves. They’re proud of what they can do. And you can see that, whether it’s in teaching third grade recorders, which are… interesting. [laughs] I taught third grade recorders for a long time! But you know, when they can actually see that they can actually read the music and hear themselves, it’s a good beginning, it’s a good outlet.