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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Music Across the Curriculum

I recently attended Open House for my children and was impressed by the creative teaching techniques that are employed in the classroom.  As one impressed parent commented, "We sure didn't do that when I was in the fourth grade."  Thankfully, creativity in the classroom has been embraced by more and more educators to reach a wider range of children.  We know that learning involves our senses, and that children often respond well when lessons are introduced through musically enhanced activities.  As an Infant/Toddler Teacher I had the opportunity to personally observe the benefits of music in a classroom setting.  As a parent who frequently sings and makes up songs for my own children, I know how music can provide auditory cues that allow children to improve their attention to directions and information.  I was impressed by the use of music in my child's classroom.  I hope other teachers may have the opportunity to share this wonderful technique.

The demonstration that occurred in my 4th Grade daughter's classroom during Open House was a stellar example of how one teacher with a vision of excellence elevated the learning experience and created an environment that infused students with an interest in the subject matter.   Moments like these have the potential to create a life long love for education.  The teacher, Ms. Rogers, used popular music that is current and interesting to her students. For example, she rewrote the lyrics for "The Lazy Song" by Bruno Mars and applied it to learning adjectives.  "Today I feel like studying adjectives.  Ms. Rogers says it will stay in my head.  I'm not going to pick up the phone, so leave a message at the tone.  'Cause today I feel like studying adjectives."  The look on the children's faces as they performed for their parents was charged with energy and pride. 

I was impressed by the demonstration and immediately grateful that my children are enrolled in a school where the Principal supported this teacher's creativity and enthusiastically looked on with pride at both the teacher and the students.  As a child who grew up in a musically enhanced home, I can appreciate the benefits of encouraging music across the curriculum.  I also encourage use of music in my home to provide transition between activities and add humorous elements to otherwise mundane chores.  Waking up in the morning becomes so much more silly when Mom sings to her children.  Giggles and a chorus of, "Please stop singing now Mommy, I'm up!"  are so much more rewarding that yelling at everyone to get up or you'll miss the bus.

There's something magical about music.  Children who might otherwise argue about completing a task might stop to listen when a message comes in the form of a song.  Perhaps future blog entries will feature some of my favorite re-written lyrics set to well know tunes.  Then you too can appreciate my children's comments of, "Please, Mommy.  No more songs." Of course, they're just kidding.  The other night one of my boys asked me to please sing to him to help him go to sleep.  "Please sing those songs from when I was a baby, Mommy."  With pleasure!  Hopefully one day my children will pass on this wonderful gift of music to their children.  In the mean time, I hope that more teachers will continue to use music in the classroom!

Enjoy the rest of your week.  And the next time you hear a tune that sticks in your head, don't be afraid to play with the lyrics and adapt it to your own personal situation.  If it helps you laugh, remember, or become more uplifted, then you'll understand the wonderful power of music.