Music At Highlander
Music is a powerful tool of expression. Whether produced or listened to, it can reveal deep aspects of ones personality. Song’s can hold unique personal meanings through memory or message. During time’s of desperation, music’s constant rhythm can provide a fortress of comfort and steadiness. Music is depended upon for security, care, inspiration, and as a safe haven to be able to express freely. The Highlander Folk School is depended upon for the same reasons. These two schools of thought not only share similar relationship’s with people, but they are practiced together frequently. “Song, music and food are integral parts of education at Highlander. Music is one way for people to express their traditions, longings, and determination” (158). Myles Horton seemed certainly aware of the importance music had at Highlander, but never expressed it further than this quote from near the end of his autobiography, The Long Haul. How big of a role did music play in the Highlander education? Producing a safer environment, a more enriched education, and the ability to unleash potential, music was essential in the Highlander education.
Music is nonjudgmental. There is no right or wrong, it just is what it is. People take away from music whatever they want. Myles Horton set up Highlander to work in the same way. He offered a community that practiced social equality, no discrimination or lack of freedom of speech. He offered workshops on what the people wanted to work on, and then left it to them to take away and use what they want. This was the organic structure of education Horton preached. He also focused on the surroundings needed to support this education. “The job of the staff members is to create a relaxed atmosphere in which the participants feel free to share their experiences” (150). Without an environment where people felt safe and comfortable in, this system would stay only a theory. Music kept this structure stable. Group songs created a...
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