My message is one of concern. I’ve heard that the government is moving to remove arts programmes from colleges, thus terminating the Jazz Studies programme, of which I am a student, & the Classical programme, of which many of my peers are students. This concerns me as a Jazz student because Uvic does not offer a Jazz program & many new students who are interested in Jazz will have to find other options through other universities, rather than colleges.
This is problematic because not only does it reduce options for students, but it forces them into a more costly, less flexible university environment that many of us are not ready for when we apply to our first year of college. The smaller college environment of the VCM fosters the support, growth, & individuality necessary for budding arts students seeking to find their identity within their niche.
Another problem that arises is that space in programmes is already limited.
To force everyone into fewer establishments will ultimately create a bottle neck of applications, which indeed sounds lovely from a business standpoint, but creates a hindrance to passionate & talented people who are seeking self-betterment through the arts.
There is no reason to separate vocational education from arts education as if one is more important than the other. Over many years, the government has been reducing the priority of art to a point where our programmes have very little funding while other programmes deemed more “productive” are given much more support. This has driven the cost of our education up while keeping our return on investment low & often unstable. We are consistently treated like “fat” that needs trimming. This sends the message that arts & culture are not necessary & it devalues our service to humanity. This is why musicians are paid poorly in spite of how hard our work really is.
The arts are a vital part of a vibrant community & the more doors we close on it, the less understanding we will all have of one another as human beings.
While what we do may not be law, medicine, accounting, or engineering, it is an important contribution to society that tells the story of humanity. It documents history & frames our time. We must stop the slow, steady strip-mining of arts education in BC before there is nothing left. Where will we draw the line?
I ask you to please consider the ramifications of this move & to keep arts in colleges. Keep educational environments well-rounded & help us in ceasing further gutting of our treasured programmes. Everyone has a right to an education, even if we’re not mechanics or bankers. Please save Camosun’s Jazz & Classical music programmes.
Thank you for your time.
Alli Bean; Second year Jazz Piano Major; VCM-Camosun