Re: Stringed instruments in school
What music theory I know, other than what I've picked up from just playing, I got from a one-semester middle-school required music class. We learned how to read "notes," what the pitches of the different lines on the staff were (remember "Every Good Boy Does Fine"?), the difference between a major and a minor third interval, how to tell a quarter note from an eighth note, etc. I was also in both band and chorus, so I was "doing" as well as "learning," but that little music "orientation" -- which was followed by "wood shop," agriculture, and home economics -- gave me some tools that I'm still using.
Should we have had a middle school string band as well as a standard woodwind/brass/percussion band? Yeah, that would have been cool. Could Mr. Beach have taught it? Probably not; he was a trumpet player, who also taught every variety of instrument in the school band, from tympani to French horn, directed the band, marched with us during the summer, and taught piano during school vacations to keep up his income. Probably would have been out of his element teaching "chop" chords, and he was all our little rural school had.
Schools do what they can; if there happens to be a music teacher with a folk/Celtic/bluegrass background, he/she may add some of that to the mix (see my examples above). If not, there's a lot of "general music" knowledge to be imparted, learning about key and time signatures, tonic/subdominant/dominant chord structures, major vs. minor scales/keys, etc. Which any mandolinist could use in the future.
I no longer work square roots with a pencil, diagram English sentences, or use much of my high school Latin. Doubt I could replicate any of those chemical reactions that stunk up the lab so long ago. But I still use some of the musical stuff Bob Beach taught me in the late 1950's. Now I'm playing mandolin and other stringed instruments instead of my silver-plated student flute, but some of that middle-school pedagogy sticks with me today.
Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
Natl Triolian Dobro mando
Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
Stradolin Vega banjolin
Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
Flatiron 3K OM