Math and other core teachers are not familiar with the stress a music teacher endures in this area. For example, I experienced cutbacks in my instrumental instruction time at both of my public school band directing jobs. In one school that time was replaced with elementary general music classes (not a bad trade) but in the other, study hall and lunch monitoring (hello, brain mush). Cutbacks like these can be frustrating when you take your career seriously by pursuing specialized degrees and attaining to the highest quality of instruction so we must continually advocate for our importance as music teachers and prove our value as a teacher, not a hall monitor. (note: all teachers must perform some monitoring duties from time to time, I refer to the case when a music teacher has significantly more of these than do other teachers)
Advocates of music fall on two sides: arguing that music should be offered because of the positive effects music learning has on learning other subjects, or because of the innate and sole importance of music in its own right. As a college student I was alerted to the abhorance of using the "other subjects" as the justification for music inclusion in school. We ought not to need other subjects to support our importance! We are important by ourselves! You see, go to college or grad school and you are plunged out of reality and into a world full of people who do what you do, appreciate the same things you do, have idealistic viewpoints and are relatively elitist in their attitudes. And yes, it is easy to emerge as one of "them," unyielding in your own idealistic views, unable to relate to the unmusical person and unable to work with something less than what you have come to see as the "perfect" situation. But as I read articles containing studies proving the IQ growing effects of piano study, I am starting to wonder just what is so wrong with that argument.
What REALLY happens? You get a job as THE music teacher in a school building, realize that there are no textbooks and only 25 kids in the high school band, and you learn what you really need to know and what is really important to the kids and the community you teach in. Often, what is important to the community and school cannot be changed very quickly, if at all, so you learn to be fulfilled not by having your band perform a Level 6 piece with college-like ability but by proudly writing lunch passes for the jazz band when they want to voluntarily practice for the concert. And by unexpectedly hearing the audience cheer when you announce that the Jr. High band brought home the bronze medal at their first-ever band festival. My favorite moment was taking the brand new pep band out to the first home football game of the year.
Where does music advocacy occur in all of this? For me it meant finding the holes that could be filled by the band, the ways we could support, compliment or partner with the school community so that we stood out and were considered valuable to the student body. Once that occured, it was easier to ask for what we needed and prove that we needed it. Once we gave something to the administration and community, then I could start to say--you know this festival or that extra concert would be valuable to the kids. Or--hey the bari. sax is broken and I need to spend $2000 on repairs (it didn't really cost that much!).
If music teachers truly want to integrate, we need to start viewing education as a whole, not as broken up into various subjects. You can't send one piece of yourself into music while keeping all of the other sections in the hallway or off to other classes. The same body and brain that walks into music class also walks into science, math and history. An individual's learning in one classroom will inevitably affect his learning in other classrooms in some way or another. I think it is extremely important to point out that music is important to brain growth and enhances a person's ability to learn other subjects. Argue it! Say it! Shout it! Music to the school curriculum is like Vitamin D to Calcium! Without it, you will simply take longer to absorb knowledge and ultimately absorb less.