Making a Difference:
Music and Humanities Instruction
It doesn't make any difference if you are in the poorest district or you're in the richest district. You have access to the same resources through KET.
As a musician, Tanya Bromley knows the value of art and beauty in a person's life. As an educator, she believes that students with regular instruction in music and the humanities go on to live more engaged and intellectually rich lives. And as a citizen of the Commonwealth, she maintains that there's no resource more valuable to ensuring that Kentuckians have all these things than Kentucky Educational Television.
"The reason I think KET is so important is because it is the only network out there that is dedicated to the wellbeing of our citizens—purely dedicated to the wellbeing of the citizens of the Commonwealth to encourage their social and their cultural and their intellectual growth," said the former high-school band director who now instructs student teachers in music at Transylvania and Morehead State universities.
"Not just for K through 12, but lifelong learning."
Bromley, a trumpet player and Danville native who grew up in a house filled with music, says that the variety of subjects in the arts—and politics, history, and other subjects as well—make KET a resource to be cherished.
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"It's not one-sided in terms of the cultural offerings—you may see artists from Asbury, you may see the Bill Monroe bluegrass bands, or documentaries on jazz, or the Vienna Philharmonic," she said. "KET gives a good, balanced picture of our culture. I look at those from a musician's standpoint, but of course there's dance, and the visual arts and theater, too."
The best part of all the offerings KET provides, she says, is that they are available to everyone—people from all walks of life, and students from every school district and background.
"It's not a highbrow thing. It helps everybody understand their culture. It's a great equalizer," she maintains. "Most everybody has a television—they have access. A window to the world."
Though now retired, Bromley's years in the schools convinced her that KET's strong ties with the Department of Education ensured that its resources were aligned with what Kentucky citizens wanted its children to learn. And when a gap occurred, KET could be called upon to readily fulfill that need.
The schools that get shortchanged, Bromley said, are in districts with parents who can't afford to provide their children ballet or music lessons, or take them to hear a symphony. "KET brings all those things right into a child's living room or classroom—regardless of the socioeconomic status of the parents. It doesn't make any difference if you are in the poorest district or you're in the richest district. You have access to the same resources through KET."
In many cases, she said, KET's resources supersede what any ordinary teacher could bring to the classroom.
"I supervise student teachers—and I witnessed a student teacher teaching about Jean Ritchie and the dulcimer and folk music," she said. "And thanks to KET EncycloMedia, Jean Ritchie got to walk right in that classroom. The foremost authority on Kentucky and Appalachian folk music, and there she was with little kids at an elementary school."
Bromley's enthusiasm can't be checked when she discusses the KET Arts Toolkits, extensive collections of multimedia resources teachers use to teach dance, the visual arts, music, and drama.
"The KET Arts Toolkits are probably the greatest resource that has been developed in education in Kentucky in the last 10 years," she stated.
"These toolkits have been put together by experts in the field, and they really help close the gap that this state had in its arts and humanities content."
Beyond the classroom, Bromley says that every citizen benefits from KET's wide array of programming.
"I think KET has a really good handle on helping us understand who we are as Kentuckians," she said. "I think you have to know who you are to have a sense of self-worth and pride—by seeing where you've come from."