by Gebby Smith
“Music cleanses the understanding; inspires it, and lifts it into a realm which it would not reach if it were left to itself.” – Henry Ward Beecher
It is no secret that many American schools are having trouble where funding is concerned. Unfortunately, the arts are usually the first courses to be dropped from the curriculum when an educational network has to find ways to adapt to budget decreases. Removing any one of the creative arts from a school’s coursework is undesirable, but it is especially concerning when music is no longer offered in state public schools.
Johns Hopkins School of Education notes that using music in the classroom has been shown to enhance teaching and learning behaviors. Since music is one of the great joys of life for so many people, it stands to reason that it would add enjoyment to the learning experience.
According to researchers, the following concepts have been proven:
. There is a connection between reading/language development and being trained in music.
. Music, when used as an enhancement to a lesson plan can increase students’ interest and engagement in the instruction.
. When music is introduced during the early childhood years it can build positive learning attitudes and increase curiosity.
Johns Hopkins informs educators that any classroom instructor can integrate music into the students’ environment even if they have no background or training in the field of music. The National Association of Music Education adds that music can change the way young people’s minds’ take form. Many experienced teachers are aware that using music in the background as students perform certain tasks helps them to memorize and retain the information more easily.
This type of learning might include reciting grammar rules to the tune of a nursery rhyme. Certain classical or contemporary pieces could be played in the background when students are reading or researching. Specific classifications of music, such as the works of Bach, Handel, and other Baroque composers, can create a deep concentration state in listeners, which sets the stage for memorizing information or processing new data. Certain types of music could be used as a soundtrack for the students’ day. A creative teacher might use the musical playlist to calm, enthuse, and motivate pupils as becomes necessary during their time in class.
Tight budgets do not necessarily have to mean music must be taken out of schools. Teachers who learn to integrate music of all kinds into every activity and experience of the school day will make learning more special for their students, and possibly experience regenerative results for themselves, as well.
About Gebby Smith
I am a retired teacher and administrator, who also loves to write, garden, design, sing, dance, read, cook, make furniture, and walk. I live in Mississippi, but have been fortunate enough to travel widely.