Opinion

Music for a lifetime

Talent and an unwavering commitment to keep the arts flourishing in public schools is paying off in Medford where four high school musicians will represent their city in the prestigious Massachusetts Music Educators Association Northeast District Senior Festival Concert.

Leo Pancic, Justin Tseng, Arden Ingersoll and Christopher Walsh are among more than 1,000 student musicians who auditioned to win coveted performance spots that will allow them to perform under the guidance of guest conductors and send Tseng, Pancic and Ingersoll to Boston Symphony Hall for a mid-March Massachusetts All-State Orchestra performance.

The Medford musicians’ accomplishments mirror success shown by young musicians in Lynn and surrounding communities. Lynn public schools introduced their youngest students to classical music this fall by bringing musicians into schools.

Public school music programs thrive because committed music lovers such as Lynn’s Joseph Picano build programs by generating interest in competitions and showcasing student talent. Music always attracts young people who are born into families where music is a constant or who are drawn to music and determined to make it part of their life.

School music programs give students a place to build their skills and integrate their talent with the ability shown by other students. Schools make music affordable to kids who can’t imagine the concept of owning their own cello or adding a baby grand piano to the living room.

School programs bring musical mentors into the practice room and crosstrain students in symphonic music, jazz and other musical styles.

In Medford, as in Lynn, public school music has prospered because musicians who are also teachers insist on highlighting student musicians and preparing them for competitions like the Senior Festival Concert.

Most of these teachers are former student musicians who built their talent under the guidance of musical mentors and who carved out the time between studying and work to make music matter in their lives.

They know what Pancic, Tseng, Ingersoll, Walsh, Picano and thousands of other musicians know: Music is a lifetime love affair that demands dedication and hard work but returns the hours and labor put into it with insights into the human soul and a glimpse at incredible beauty.

Music has survived in the face of the most horrific human acts and come to define the pinnacle of human achievement. Lessons taught in the classroom may fade from memory over the decades but music, once it becomes a labor of love, becomes a teacher in its own right. Medford educators, like their counterparts in Lynn and other communities, know music is a priceless gift enriching lives.

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