Atlanta eliminates music from schools

Atlanta eliminates music from schools


norman lebrecht

June 03, 2015

Public schools in the home of Coca-Cola and CNN have been ordered to stop teaching music from August. Music teachers have been sacked. Students in elementary schools will grow up without access to culture.

A petition has been launched to reverse the decision. Here‘s a clarification from the band-slashers.

A better idea: let’s all boycott Coca-Cola and CNN until they put some culture back into their home town.

No Coke without C-major.


atlanta youth


  • anon says:

    I feel as though the American dismantling of its education system is even less news-worthy than Lisitsa getting piano gigs.

  • Patrick says:

    Stunning, but it’s Georgia, y’all….would you expect anything else? What does surpirse me is the accompanying video of Mike Huckabee saying something I actually agree with. I was ready to be angry and, what do you know, the guy goes and says something enlightened.

    Dear diary….

  • AZ Cowboy says:

    What is the point of boycotting Coke or CNN? Did they make the decision? Did they demand the elimination of music? And “but it’s Georgia, y’all” is the most stupid comment of all. Georgia isn’t some backwater hell-hole. The people actually have their teeth! They have a world class orchestra. Great universities. And serious problems with immigrants (mostly illegal) and serious problems with schools. Thank the Democrats.

    • NYMike says:

      At last sighting, it’s the Rethuglicans in charge with their ant-womens’ rights, voting restrictions and guns anywhere agenda. Stop watching Faux Snooze.

      • Don Ciccio says:

        Not to engage in partisan politics, but the Mayor of Atlanta is a Democrat. Let’s get the fact first.

  • John Porter says:

    I cannot for the life of me find anything about the elimination of music in the Atlanta public schools. The petition doesn’t say that and I don’t see any other media piece. While it certainly is problematic that the school budget will allow discretion to choose something other than music, it’s not a flat out elimination. Norman, can you clarify? Is there another article that we haven’t seen?

  • Musicmatters says:

    Augusta, Georgia is home to the Jessye Norman School of the Arts
    Jessye, please speak out against this truly destructive blow to education in Georgia!

  • Greg says:

    Here is some more information from a local news source:

    Maybe cutting elementary school music is helping to pay for the new superintendent’s perks package:

  • trombonist says:

    Norman, your headline and “article” is painfully inaccurate and does not represent the facts. Public schools in Atlanta will continue to have music in all forms. What has been cut is instrumental music at elementary schools only (where students will still have general music offered). This is surely sad for those teachers laid off, but please take a moment to check your facts and “report” accurately.

    Firing from the hip with overly-sensationalized headlines is no way to advance a healthy discussion on the merits of instrumental music for pre-6th-grade students.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      The headline is accurate insofar as it draws attention to the abolition of music lessons. I will qualify the article to specify elementary schools.

      • Alex says:

        Coke and CNN have nothing to do with public music education in Georgia. They are huge companies who just happen to be based in Atlanta. Therefore, boycotting them makes zero sense. You are putting together two completely unrelated things.

        • La kuma says:

          Big companies like Cnn and Coca there can show supports to their local students and musicians RATHER than paying millions $$$ to Obama &Clinton cheerleaders journalists and businessmen.
          TV journalists get easily 5 millions or 10 millions a year $$$ contracts. Lets say American loves hip hop things which are connected to coke and obamas, and far away from real music education.
          I see these companies intensionally need more stupid 99% kids in the US.

  • Anon says:

    (a) it doesn’t look form what I can see as though music is being cut completely – rather that it might be optional and for the school to decide what is and isn’t taught.

    (b) even if music were cut, that doesn’t mean “kids growing up without access to culture”. There are many forms of culture other than music, and access to music and culture still exists whether there’s a half-hour lesson about it or not in a classroom each week.

  • Brian Mitchell says:

    Maybe Coke should remember:

  • Eric says:

    Terrible, terrible. But, according to this link, it’s Atlanta and not all of Georgia. That doesn’t take away from the awful news for Atlanta, but lets be correct about scope. I’d find it hard to believe, even with shrinking arts education commitments, that a state would mandate sacking all music programs.

  • Karen says:

    Thank you for sharing, Norman. And it is incorrect that only Atlanta will lack music education; rather, it was the one place in the state where there still was music education, and it is now joining the rest of Georgia. Cutting music programs is incredibly short-sighted and ignorant. Orchestra and band practice teach valuable lessons such as creativity, self-discipline, and cooperation.

  • Brian Hughes says:

    I’ve read several reports from “the ground” about this. There are no “orders,” and music, in a more limited form, will continue to be taught in Atlanta public schools. This is far from a perfect situation (I am a music educator) but please, Norman, get your facts straight and report the COMPLETE story.

  • robcat2075 says:

    There is some research indicating that starting band instrument instruction in the elementary grades is not advantageous.

    I recall a study that compared 4th grade starters with 7th grade starters and found that by the 9th grade the difference in ability had mostly evaporated.

  • Christy says:

    I appreciate this information, but why isn’t there ever information on cities that are ADDING music into schools. Boston, Chicago, Seattle, LA… they all have programs designed to INCREASE music. The Chicago program, in particular, is a massive undertaking. I would like to hear about positive endeavors as well as negative occurrences.

  • Alvaro Mendizabal says:

    Coca cola executives: “So, the 5 ppl who care about classical music are going to boycott us??? ROFL”!!!!!!

  • ATLmom says:

    It is so sad to disparage an already struggling school system like this. They are doing the best they can to get back on their feet. False, malicious reports such as these only bring them down. Instead, why don’t you circulate a petition for local musicians to volunteer in the schools? The real story is that APS is one of the only districts in GA with band and orchestra in elementary. Check the facts here:

    • Amy says:

      Oh, and add to the list of facts the $375K annual salary of the APS superintendent, Meria Carstarphen. (The one who just eliminated 18 music educators.)
      Maybe that’s why she’s such a good fit on the Woodruff Arts Center board of trustees…
      she brings first-hand orchestra-trimming experience with her.

  • WD says:

    It’s not true. Atlanta just laid off 18 music teachers and is choking the programs. They did not eliminate band and orchestra.