Over the past several decades, arts-integration educators have discovered the value of students learning through music.
As a conversation starter and relationship-building tool, music is invaluable. But it’s also an effective way to keep students engaged and help them to grasp concepts that may normally elude them.
This is especially true for students who struggle with more conventional educational models and would benefit from attending an arts-integrated middle school or high school.
Learning Through Music
Educators know the motivating power of music in the classroom. They may use it to set a mood when the students enter the classroom. Or they may infuse lectures or slide show presentations with short excerpts of music to make them more interesting to the students.
But how are they using music to actually teach things that don’t seem entirely related to music? We’ll take a look.
1. Grasping Concepts Through Lyrics
Every educator has been faced with the challenge of trying to teach students concepts that require rote memorization. It could be times tables, vocabulary, historical dates, or any other number of challenges.
While some students struggle with memorizing these concepts, they’re entirely capable of memorizing the lyrics to their favorite songs. Thus, teaching important concepts through song can be a valuable memory tool.
If you were a child of the 1970s and 1980s, you likely remember Schoolhouse Rock. Through that, how many of us learned what a bill was? Or when to use an interjection? A pretty large number.
There is plenty of educational musical content already created that teachers can access. But some educators choose to have students create their own music using lyrics that help them to understand the concepts.
2. Recreating Historical Events
Music has a unique way of passing on the memory of events. Through melodies, phrasing, and songs, students gain a better sense of the feelings and nuances of certain times and places. This just can’t be achieved in a textbook – no matter how colorful.
When students in a history class are given the assignment to re-enact an actual event through music, they are fully engaged in constructing an accurate representation. They are motivated to deliver an entertaining yet insightful presentation of those who populated history that goes beyond a dull biography.
Furthermore, their presentations are interesting for other learners in the class; enabling every student to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of history.
3. Gaining a Deeper Understanding of Poetry
What is a song, really, but a poem? Yet, as students slog through the poetry section in their English classes, they may not make this connection.
Song and lyrics perfectly illustrate reading, writing, storytelling, and sharing the human experience. They can be used to teach students about style, tone, connotation, rhyme, genre, etc., without bogging them down in dry literary concepts.
And while a poem might convey a classic story, it’s easier for students to create their own poetry in the form of a song. Thus, arts-integrated educators might have their students start with song-writing exercises to prime the pump for their poetic creations. By flipping the internal narrative, the students free themselves from the literary conventions and are able to soar.
4. Making Sense of Fractions in Math
Without math, there would be no music.
This doesn’t mean that musicians need to be brilliant mathematicians. But they do have an inherent understanding of fractions – even if they don’t realize they do.
That’s why teachers are finding that music is an effective means of teaching fractions. By having students tap to a beat, they can demonstrate how four quarter notes add up to one. Therefore, students would tap four times. Or the educator may draw a circle, divide it into four, then draw a quarter note in each section to demonstrate how it adds up to one full note. This can be done with eighth notes, eight sections, and eight taps. And so on and so forth.
So Many Different Paths for Teaching
Because each student grasps concepts differently, arts-integrated educators recognize the value of students learning through music, art, dance, theater, writing, and every other creative avenue.
So if you feel like this element is missing in your child’s current educational environment, then contact us today to take a tour of our school.
And you’ll have the opportunity to see just how effective learning through the arts can be.