Strike the right notes

Music can be a powerful teaching tool and have multiple benefits.   | Photo Credit: Freepik

While schools and educators focus on preparing students for the workplace of tomorrow, it is important to remember that music is not just an extracurricular activity to abandon in favour of subjects such as Maths and Science. With studies pointing to the benefits of using music in the classroom, it can be a powerful teaching tool. Here are some compelling reasons:

Speeds up learning process: Exposure to music helps accelerate children’s brain development and impacts areas related to reading and language development. It also speeds up mental processing and problem-solving. Students with exposure to music have been found to have a higher volume of grey matter, which is directly related to comprehension.

Helps memorise better: Music is easily stored in the memory and thus helps develop it; from toddlers learning alphabets, to older students recalling complex lessons.

Helps make connections: Music can be applied to daily life in powerful ways. For example, the violin can be used to explain string thickness, and vocal percussion and rhythm to understand mathematical patterns. In a history lesson, a song like We Shall Overcome can be used to explain the civil rights movements, and start important conversations.

As the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 suggests, there can be no hard separation between the sciences and the arts, and music is a great way to bridge this gap. Here are some suggestions for educators to use music in the classroom.

In extremely young children, it can be a way to teach resourcefulness and overall coordination. Action songs that include clapping, snapping, and body movements can help with overall development. In older learners, music can be used to start important discussions and create a sense of community.

It can be used to teach children more languages. Studies show that learning a second language in early childhood helps one remain fluent in both languages in the long-term. When children are introduced to music, early, language development also benefits as the parts of the brain that control musical ability and language are connected.

Music is a useful classroom management tool. Children are still learning the concept of time; this is a good way to help them keep track and internalise the amount of time they are allowed to spend on one task.

In this era of online learning, music can be a great way to improve students’ emotional health at a time of uncertainty and lack of community time. Music streaming platforms, discussions through video conferencing, and customised playlists can be added to the lesson plan to make the experience better.

Music is much more than a feel-good element. When allowed to work in harmony with other lessons, it comes with many tangible benefits, and should be applied in the classroom to make the learning experience enjoyable and impactful for everyone involved.

The writer is a singer-songwriter, author, and Founder and CEO at SaPa (Subramaniam Academy of Performing Arts).

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 11:34:52 AM |

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