Marshall Frank: Music programs essential for student development

Keep essential programs in school;

Marshall Frank

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

School boards around the state may have to cut many positions in the ensuing years, including hundreds of elementary art and music teachers, which causes my heart to skip a beat. The long-range consequences could be more far-reaching than we imagine.

Few subjects are more important in school curriculums than music and art, particularly music. As president of the Creative Arts Foundation of Brevard, a nonprofit, I have been privileged to interact with many hundreds of talented youngsters in the last seven years who are immersed in superior music programs available in this region. These youngsters thrive on musical excellence, bringing harmony and love to their lives among friends and family.

When we hold annual music competitions, we are witness to the wonders of music and how well-grounded kids are who study instruments, act and sing in their school programs and thrive on music in general.

It all begins in the elementary grades. Much the same as sports programs, music keeps kids from the streets, from wandering into trouble, from being vulnerable to negative influences because it gives them identity and focus. Studies have shown that music helps develop memory, perception, language, oral and reading skills, not to mention self-esteem and purpose.

Some studies have shown that music actually contributes toward elevations in IQ. Music provides an essential element in psychological growth for many youngsters, creating a base for learning in other subjects.

I grew up and later spent 30 years as a cop in Miami. I’ve also been an active father. I can say with some authority that the outstanding school curriculums in this part of Florida are, for now, more superior and effective for developing well-rounded kids than the school systems in southeast Florida, where budget shortfalls put music and art on the chopping blocks. School music programs also help to support many music stores in the area.

It all begins in the early ages. Eliminating elementary school music would have a domino effect. Take away music in elementary schools it will be tougher to sell kids on music as they get older and more susceptible to peer influences.

Though music and art may not be as essential as core subjects, they are certainly more useful to students than needless requirements, such as algebra. I started learning music at age 6. It was an everyday part of my growth experience. I’m still playing violin to this day.

I struggled with, and nearly flunked algebra in the seventh grade, never to use it in my entire life. Contrarily, music often becomes a forever element of a life span.

Eliminating hundreds of music and art teachers in regional schools is beyond drastic. The ultimate consequences would be one step closer to a Miami syndrome, where controlling behavior in schools trumps the learning process. It may seem less needed, but it is just as important as learning to count, read and spell.

Let music programs continue at the earliest of ages. School boards should find other less essential places to cut costs.

Marshall Frank is an author and retired South Florida police detective who lives in Melbourne. Online:



             January 2014

Justin Bieber, age 19

This month was an easy pick.

Young folks who find great fame and success are often seen wallowing in self love and depravity, thinking they are somehow more important and better than the average person. The selection for January of 2014 showed what a true fool he really is by anointing himself above the law in a Miami Beach residential neighborhood, embarking on a drag race (60 mph in a 30 zone) in his ostentatious Lamborghini. When stopped by the cops, he was less than polite, delivering a barrage of expletives to the officers before being hauled in for DUI. He was also allegedly under the influence of marijuana and prescription drugs while driving with an expired license. He was also charged with Resisting Arrest. Bieber was arrested with R&B singer, Khalil Amir Sharieff.

Other reports have come in claiming he had raced his car earlier in Miami at speeds up to 130 mph.

Well, why not. He’s Justin Bieber, rich and famous. How did he get rich? He sings.

Bieber is also under investigation for egging his neighbors house in California last month to the tune of $20,000 in damages, a felony.

Bieber is also being charged with assaulting a Limo driver in Toronto, Canada, in December 2013.

Then there’s this:

A couple weeks after the arrest in Miami, Bieber chartered a private plane to go to NYC to attend Super Bowl parties. According to news reports, the pilots and flight attendant claimed that Bieber and his entourage were abusive during the flight, puffing freely on joints and filling the aircraft with so much smoke that the pilots had to wear oxygen masks to avoid a contact high and jeopardize their licenses over failing a drug test. According to the report, “The captain of the flight stated that he warned the passengers, including Bieber, on several occasions to stop smoking marijuana,” read a report obtained by NBC News. The captain also needed to request that the passengers stop their harassing behavior toward the flight attendant. Justin’s father, Jeremy Bieber, was on the flight with the singer.

And what do Bieber’s parents have to say about their darling child? Basically, they defend him saying he has so many good qualities. She was recently quoted, “If Justin is struggling, don’t kick him when he’s down, or condemn him…pray for him.”

I have some comments for Justin Bieber’s parents:

Pattie Mallette and Jeremy Bieber, I know how tough it is to have a wayward son, I have had one of my own. But he won’t be corrected by making excuses for him. If you were truly caring parents, you’d make a public statement that would piss him off, but in the long run it would be the best thing you ever did. Tough love’s not easy, but it can be effective. Here’s what you say: “Justin, we are ashamed of you. We are good and decent people, and you are growing into a miserable punk kid. The only people who respect you are dopers and sleazebags. Straighten out, stop embarrassing your mother and father, get help now, you can afford it. You are not invulnerable. Keep this up and you will one day end up lying on a bathroom floor just like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, only he will be remembered as a good and loving man. You won’t. Stop being a complete and total Sphincter.”

Will his parents be up front and honest?

Doubtful. Not as long as the cash cow keeps pumping.

Click here: Times Bulletin: Justin Bieber s arrest latest sign of trouble

Click here: Justin Bieber May Face Felony Charges Over Egging Incident | Music News | Rolling Stone

Click here: Justin Bieber Speeding — New Report Claims He Went 130 MPH In Miami – Hollywood Life

Click here: Justin Bieber Was Clocking 136 MPH Before Miami Beach Arrest: Report | Billboard 




Has our society gone nuts?

     From lying politicians, to open drug use, to pervasive sexual debauchery on film and tongue-wagging teen idols simulating sex on stage wearing underwear, society has basically given a green light to any form of behavior we once categorized as “unacceptable.”  The media and the American people in general no longer care about standards, positive role models and basic morality. If this is where we have come in the last forty years, I dread to think what the next forty will bring.

     This isn’t about one or two anomalies; this is an insidious problem throughout America and elsewhere.

     A congressman can openly admit to using illegal narcotics and still be allowed to hold office, yet be prosecuted. A mayor of a major city laughingly sloughs off having possessed and using crack cocaine while in office. Our last two presidents have possessed and used illegal drugs and luckily avoided getting caught. We all say “so what,” while loading our prisons with people who did the same thing.

     Top officials lie to congress and/or the American people about critical issues and nothing is done. An Attorney General lies about Fast and Furious sales of government arms to Mexican criminals and lies to congress again about signing off on a search warrant against a Fox News reporter, and he skates without consequence. Who will do the prosecuting? The Attorney General?

     Top officials lie to congress about the NSA spying on citizens and the IRS targeting citizens based on political persuasion, and nothing is done. The president campaigns his health care agenda like a snake oil salesman, knowing the guarantees he’s feeding Americans about retaining doctors and insurance policies are not true. Nothing is done. Millions are losing what health insurance they already have while the administration cherry-picks a few examples of its success.

     An American consulate in Libya is premeditatedly attacked by terrorists in Benghazi after nine months of pleas by the American ambassador and other officials to heighten security because dangers were gravely imminent. They are refused. REFUSED! Over an eight hour-plus assault period, four Americans are killed and no one even attempts to come to the rescue. Following that, a president, a secretary of state and a U.N. Ambassador publicly export lies, trying to wrongly convince everyone it was a spontaneous demonstration about a private video.

     It takes two weeks to send FBI agents to investigate the crime scene, and – not surprisingly – they come back with nothing. Two dozen witnesses are held in secret by the government. Meanwhile, no one is held accountable. No one in our government is charged with obstructing justice. NO ONE!

     This is unbelievable!

     The people most responsible for the lies are not even censured, yet charged. Rather, one is promoted (Susan Rice), another is celebrated as a possible president (Hillary) and the president ignores the investigation calling it one of those “phony scandals.”

     The media and the congress pay lip service, but do nothing. No special prosecutor is appointed for any of the scandals because those who would do the appointing would be the prospective defendants.          

     The country’s major newspaper (New York Times) becomes a political lapdog as it issues a false report about Benghazi that clearly conflicts with known facts, ostensibly to help clear the path for a future Hillary presidency.

     More than ever before, motion pictures are replete with moral depravity from beginning to end, and we say, “it’s just art.” Ratings are meaningless. Kids will absolutely see these disgusting movies, if not at theaters, on DVDs or television. And we say nothing. Ho hum. “Well, they heard it before.”

     Rocks stars, rappers, druggies and sex mongers who push the moral envelopes are glorified. Filthy song lyrics are admired and played for our youngest of kids to hear, giving tacit approval of negative role models.

     Free speech is on the chopping block. If you promote morality, you’re an idiot. If you prefer traditional marriage, you’re “anti-gay.” If you don’t like Obama, you’re a racist. If you support the 2nd Amendment, you’re a gun nut. If you’re for abortion, you’re a killer. If you’re against abortion, you hate women. If you’re a practicing Christian, you’re a right-wing nut. If we are fearful of Muslims, we are intolerant…never mind the intolerance of fundamentalist Muslims around the world who are responsible for 98 percent of international terror.

     Where does the blame lie?  On all of us, for failing to speak out. For failing to set standards for behavior and morality, for making rapper thugs into millionaires, buying into depraved entertainment and giving passes to politicians who violate the public trust. We turn a blind eye, too busy to be bothered. The media feeds off the sensationalism.

     It has nothing to do with being a republican, democrat or Independent. It has to do with how we ignore, or even approve, of these behaviors while our kids look on. What kind of parents will our kids be in another twenty or forty years?

     It does not bode well.


Miley Cyrus is a classic example of what has gone wrong in America.  For more reasons than one.    

     In case you missed the latest performance of the “matured” Miley Cyrus at the 2013 VMA Award show, take a few seconds to check out the video.  It’s video #2, scroll down, (after the 30 second commercial, sorry):

Click here: Miley Cyrus VMA Performance Of ‘We Can’t Stop’ Hits MTV; Network Censors ‘Molly’ Lyric (VIDEO)

     Just what we want for our impressionable kids, an American role model feigning dry sex on stage with some male stud, holding an oversized suggestive finger, slinging her tongue around like a whip and prancing half naked to what some people think is music.

     I have a beautiful 9 year-old great-granddaughter, who might think that Miley Cyrus is a cool lady. It worries me. I hope she never sees this performance, because it shatters the purity of youth and everything we don’t want in terms of values for our kids as they grow up. Yet, announcers delight in the extremism and praise her performance as though it had anything to do with talent.

     I may be an old fogey, but I consider myself fairly open and liberal in trying to adjust to modernization. I know all the arguments about Elvis and his Pelvis in the Ed Sullivan Show, but there must be a limit somewhere, sometime, somehow. What will it all become in another fifty years, naked orgies on stage in future music shows, no holds barred, showing our kids that unlimited drugs and sex is the way to go? Probably.

     And while we’re talking about the despicable Miley Cyrus, let’s talk drugs. This girl, who is an icon to millions of other girls who grew up loving her as Hannah Montana, openly and proudly announces the joys of pot, how great it is to get high and tacitly recommends drug use to kids. (See link below) Never mind that studies have proven that early and regular use of pot has many harmful effects, to an including; 1) reducing I.Q.  2) Lethargy, lack of ambition  3) Memory impairment 4) Paranoia and schizophrenia  5) Driving impairment and 6) Yes, it can be addictive to people prone to addiction which then make it 7) A gateway to other more dangerous drugs

     Good going Miley. Whatever the good parents in this country are trying to achieve by guiding their kids into a safe, moral and productive life, you work at tearing down. You have abandoned your role as an icon for young people in this country by endorsing immorality, indecency and the bottom of the values pool.

     At least Elvis Presley had talent and he worked his way to stardom on the bedrock of natural talent, neither of which Miley Cyrus knows anything about. If she were not born to a famous performer with a silver spoon in her mouth, she would just be another plan-Jane cheerleader in some school campus. Without her entourage, she’s nothing; she can’t sing, she can’t dance and she can’t act. She’s at her place in life thanks to her wealthy father.

     And while we’re at it, let’s talk about Billy Ray Cyrus for a moment, a mediocre country singer who rose to stardom as a one-hit wonder. Billy Ray was asked about his daughter’s actions on a recent talk show where – as a father – he basically excused, dismissed and endorsed his daughter’s public antics saying: “That’s my Miley. She’s an artist.”

     Good going Billy Ray. You just legitimized debauchery to a few million young people. You are not only gutless but a poor excuse of a father who should set and hold standards for your kids and their morals. A father’s (and mothers) role in life is not to be liked, but to be respected. It’s obvious Miley didn’t respect her parents nor does she care what he thinks or feels, she’s got him pegged and he cowers in the face of upholding standards.

     This was a father’s opportunity to say, “I don’t approve.”  That’s all it would take. The impression would be everlasting, and whatever damage it caused to their relationship would be repaired with the healing of time and maturity. At least he would have set a standard, that parents do not want to see and hear their kids like that. And when Miley Cyrus reaches age 30, 40 or 50, she’ll look back with disdain at her own actions.

     Entertainers, especially the rappers, the singers and the very young, implant a huge impression on the lifestyles of young kids, not just the upper teens, but the6, 9 and 11 year-old many of whom, these days, have unbridled access to the world of depravity through electronic media. Such is the challenge for good parents who work hard at guiding and loving their kids into safe, moral and productive lives.

     Too bad that didn’t work so good for Miley.

Click here: Miley Cyrus ‘Fesses Up: ‘Weed Is the Best Drug on Earth’ – Wrecking Ball, Rolling Stone, Miley Cyrus :

Click here: Billy Ray Cyrus on his daughter: ‘That’s still my Miley’ –




Rarely do I write movie reviews from viewing a rental. But there are some readers who need to know about this picture.

“A Late Quartet” (rel. 2012) is for viewers who appreciate great drama about human passion, with fine acting and some good excerpts of classical music. Add to the story; love, lust, obsession, infidelity, trust, the bane of aging and how music embodies the very soul of dedicated lifetime musicians.

Twenty-five years of performing quartet music around the world, four artists bonded as a virtual family, but one that eventually breaks apart as latent jealousies emerge and one member develop a debilitating illness which threatens the future existence of the foursome.

The four love one another as they would love their own children, parents and spouses rolled into one. But the once that stable house of cards crumbles, never-before known feelings about one another out into the open. The story offers unpredictable struggles that may shock the viewer, realizing that these master musicians are only human after all.

The stars: Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Mark Ivanir, are as good as they get.

Some critics of the movie will be musicians like myself who immediately detect that the actors are not actually playing the instruments and that camera angles and clever directing are able to fool most of the audience. To be fair, it is an impossible task to cast great actors who are also advanced musicians. They are rare, indeed.

Picky picky.

This is a 2012 movie which undoubtedly bombed at the box office, which means it’s a great dramatic movie worth 9 ½ points out of ten.

Sorry folks, no guns, car chases, farts or fantasy figures. Just a plot, great acting, good writing and characters that bring out the depths of emotions within a captive audience.

Recommended strongly for student musicians and lovers of classical music.

Rent it.

Click here: A LATE QUARTET Trailer – YouTube