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Friday, March 22, 2013

The Benefits Of Integrating Music In The Classroom

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“95% of Americans in a 2003 Gallup Poll believe that music is a key component in a child’s well-rounded education; three-quarters of those surveyed feel that schools should mandate music education.”
Gallup Poll, ’ American Attitudes Toward Music,”
2003

In these difficult economic times, many schools have been hard hit by budget cuts. Some schools in Pennsylvania have been forced to cut gym class from their curriculum because there’s simply no money for it. No money for Gym class? The fact is, as we get closer and closer to the “fiscal cliff” that we keep hearing about, government budgets are getting tighter and tighter. All programs that are included in the curriculum of each school system around the country right now are being subjected to careful scrutiny, leaving school Administrators to wonder if their school will face the budgetary ax.

Just like gym class, music classes and music departments within many school systems have come under scrutiny, have been threatened, downsized, or even eliminated.

This is a shame, since most students respond very well to music. Music is food for the brain, and in a day filled with learning, can bring a much-needed and very fulfilling respite from numbers, letters, science and history. Music is culture, and schools should teach students the importance of culture in society. So if a music program is downsized or eliminated, it is up to the creativeness of the teacher to explore a different instructional approach, one that will benefit the student at a much higher level, helping them better learn and grow by integrating various aspects of music into the classroom on a daily basis.

Think about it, music can be taken advantage of and can be a teaching tool. There’s certainly more to music than what you learn in chorus class or what you learn when you are taught to play Three Blind Mice on a plastic recorder or flute in the 3rd grade. Music can and should be a part of your school experience, even if there isn’t money in the budget for a music department.

How is this possible? With creativity and intelligence, most everything is possible. For example, If the subject matter relates to the issue of immigration, then the day’s lesson can focus on dances, costumes, musical instruments, and sounds of music from different ethnic groups and from various cultures that have emigrated to this country. Music grabs the attention and soothes the soul, calming students and igniting their inner creativity at the same time. This type of stimulation encourages students to listen, to analyze and to describe what they see, hear and even sing.

Music adds excitement and rhythm to almost any classroom lesson, whether kids sing along, dance, or just listen to the music while it is played. Think about it, how much do we learn from Nursery Rhymes and simple songs when we are kids? The ABC’s are taught with a song. Holiday tales, how to ties shoes and simple morals are taught with song. So music can be used in major subjects such as math, social studies, and even in reading or the language arts.

There are many ways to incorporate music into the classroom, without having to run up taxes and without destroying budgets. Teachers can use a slide projector with music playing softly in the background, which both stimulates the minds of the students and helps them retain the information. Simply put, music makes the class as interesting as it can possibly be, and will help the children walk away fulfilled, in better moods, and will even help them better retain the lessons that are being taught.

Music is just too important to be discarded over budgetary issues, and our children are too important to skimp on. We have to find a way to teach children the value and benefits of music, in a way that is affordable. I’m pretty sure that this can be accomplished with some ingenuity from the most important asset of every school system, our teachers. They don’t have to re-invent the wheel or even think too far outside the box, they just have to utilize music as a teaching tool. I think they’ll find that it makes their difficult and often under-appreciated job that much easier.

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