Teaching Through Music

  • Music is communication. Teaching through music is inspirational and educational. Bringing a musical program to the classroom creates a learning environment that inspires students while adding new dimensions and deeper meaning to learning.

    As Plato said, ““Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”

    The Common Core Anchor Standards for Reading are connected to music in that music is a language that involves the creative practices of investigation and reflection. No music degree or special talent is needed – just a little effort.

    • Be Informed!

      Sign up for updates on courses, giveaways, news impacting education and workshops.

    Music in the classroom

    Kids love music. As a teacher it is important to realize it is an amazing way to grasp the class’s attention. Play some songs and the students are more than likely to be interested. Now what?

    Music is storytelling, as Brianne Gidcumb at Education Closet explains. Play a piece of music that tells a story. Introduce the characters in the story and listen to excerpts (character motifs) of the musical score without narration. Students should recognize that each character is portrayed by a different instrument and a different melodic motif. Have students develop a movement to accompany each melodic motif. Listen to a section of the music. Get students to perform movements to signal that they heard each character correctly.

    Teaching through music

    “You Played a Song, Now What?”, by Sue Fenton, is considered the quintessential resource for teaching through music.

    In her 60-page book, Fenton shows teachers how to engage students and create an active learning atmosphere using music. This comprehensive resource is adaptable to any subject and to learners of all ages.

    It is common for a teacher to play a song a few times, but then not know what else to do. The key is to squeeze all the potential out of songs to maximize their impact on learning.

    There are literally hundreds of creative ideas that can help a teacher incorporate music to create an exciting learning atmosphere in the classroom.

    Students can discuss music in groups and even act out scenes.

    Music games for the classroom

    Karaoke is not just what adults do on a Friday night. Karaoke is the ultimate music game.

    What better way to make your lessons fun than to bring karaoke into the classroom. Kids love shows like “The Voice”. You can create your own version in the classroom.

    For younger students, making musical instruments out of simple items such as plastic bottles, dried beans and tin cans is fun and creative and teaches students about the sound properties of percussion instruments. It shows them how to reuse their garbage, turning it into something musical.

    It has been proven that art is essential to the learning process and there are myriad ways to get creative with music.

    What you will need

    As a teacher using music you will need access to a recording device: Acceptable formats for recording include: Uploading a video to YouTube, Audio cassette; CD; Microcassette; DVD, etc. (Any method that can be accessed by your instructor). You will also need various and sundry items such as tin pans, sticks, rubber bands, shoe boxes, etc. for making home-made rhythm instruments.

    Know how to use recorded songs to aid in developing a positive learning environment that incorporates the art of music as a means of language communication and creative personal realization. (Connects Common Core Standards for English Language Arts to the Arts Standards framework).

    Learn to teach how to make musical instruments out of everyday materials.

    A professional development course can show teachers how to create their own play lists and use props, visuals and instruments. There are dozens of ways for singing a song differently each time and teachers can learn about activities to practice language, paired speaking, imitative writing, projects and listening.

    Activities can include mime, simulations, music videos, performances, staged photos, songwriting, dramatizations, creative writing, movement, dance, skits, parodies, impersonations, and much more.

    Music opens the door to creativity.