Hawaii Youth Symphony

Student Spotlight: M. Kutty

Hawaii Youth Symphony is pleased to share an article written by HYS violinist M Kutty. M recently published a piece for the national campaign ARTS are Education and is a senior at St. Andrew’s Schools. In honor of National Music in Our Schools month, we asked that M share the importance of arts education and what it means to them.

(Also printed in the HYS Spring 2022 Newsletter)

“Music begins where the possibilities of language ends.”

—Jean Sibelius

Language is more than the mere identity of the words we verbally speak, but is the foundation of how we speak in the voice that calls to our individual selves. Language is how we express our thoughts and feelings in a way that is understood by others; and for many, that language is art. Just like language, art holds a culture and a meaning. It is an identity and a core of being–– in other words, an understanding of purpose and a sense of belonging. When language and identity are cut off, a voice and sense of being are cut off; when education turns into a place of limitation, a student’s validity and sense of abilities are cut off.

One of the most important parts about schooling is not only the education that is provided, but the concept of exploring self. Social-emotional learning (SEL) talks about self-management, self-awareness, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness. The arts have been proven to help students with the skills of understanding self, having discipline, knowing how to interact with others, and learning to find comfortability in vulnerable environments. As many schools begin to implement SEL–– or even hold those standards and expectations without the label–– students need to have a space that provides them the opportunity to work on those skills. Garnering these skills happens in various ways. Art is one of the most powerful forms of gaining these skills as it offers students a creative understanding of their true voice and who they are–– finding their language. Each student is on a different path of finding their voice, learning their language, and having a sense of purpose in today’s society.

This needs to be understood: advocating for music and the arts in education is not about creating an arts-dominant culture, but an artistically-motivated society. It is about advocating for the voice of students. When we experience the arts, it is not just the entertainment that we feel, but the connection that we form with the art, the artist, and the mind of the artist. Art is more than watercolors, a stage, and an orchestra, but a way of thinking, feeling, and expressing— all rooting back to the core of our being, our language.

In the time of mask-coverings, we may have been able to speak. But to speak in our voice?

“That is the question.”
– William Shakespeare