Is music an essential skill?

Should music be considered an essential skill? If someone (at least in the United States) graduates from high school without knowing how to read, write, or do arithmetic, most people would say that there’s something lacking in that person’s education. What if the high school graduate can’t find the United States on a map of the world? What if they can’t explain, at least in simple form, how the United States came to exist as a country? But it strikes me as odd that few people would question similar deficiencies in music. If someone can’t read music, can’t play an instrument, can’t sing, and can’t identify the name of an instrument from its sound, then I suspect most people would put that in the same category as “can’t dribble a basketball” or “can’t speak French.” Is that weird, or am I biased because I’m a musician?

I’m just thinking out loud. Sorry, I don’t have any answers.

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