Ten Ways to Help Students Become Enthusiastic Learners through Music

By Shih, Patricia | Momentum, April/May 2008 | Go to article overview

Ten Ways to Help Students Become Enthusiastic Learners through Music


Shih, Patricia, Momentum


Because music is such a heart and mind opener, it has been proven to facilitate learning

Make learning fun by using music. Because music is such a heart and mind opener, it has been proven that music actually facilitates learning. Early childhood educators know this as evidenced by the burgeoning Mommy and Me, Music Together, Musikgarten and other similar programs for infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers. Children learn best by doing, so in addition to having them experience the arts, have them participate.

1. Sing the Lessons

How did we learn our ABCs? By singing them! Lessons are easier to learn when music is the vehicle. When learning lists (planets, times tables, dates) make up a catchy melody and sing it. For some reason, it's easier to learn lyrics than a list. Children naturally love rhythm and melody, so parents and teachers can help them joyfully open their hearts and minds by using songs.

2. Enhance Listening Skills by Really Listening

Use all kinds of music to illustrate soft, loud, fast, slow, percussion, brass, strings, alliteration, rhyme and tonal qualities. What about the spaces between notes? What are the lyrics saying?

3. Use Movement to Improve Motor Skills

Marking the rhythm and beat, use percussion instruments or just faces, hands, fingers, legs or bodies to jump, clap, stomp, tiptoe, sit still. Play musical games like "Islands," "London Bridge," "Tony Chestnut" and "The Hokie Pokie." There are a gazillion of them. Use a variety of attractive, colorful and enticing percussion instruments. As children grow older, let them experiment with playing more delicate instruments like violins and harps that require fine motor skills. Dance!

4. Use Songs to Improve Spoken Language Skills

Work out and write rhymes, even silly nonsense ones. Write a song, paying attention to meter and scanning, line length, syllable sounds. What is the similarity between singing pitches and speaking!

5. Learn a New Language

Research, sing and write songs in a different language. Learn and use sign language to interpret songs you already know. Listen to and learn songs from many different countries-are there words that sound the same? How are other languages structured differently than ours?

6. Improve Reading and Writing Skills

Some songs teach letter sounds and spelling. Use these to enhance poetry and short story writing. How can we choose words that are more precise to the meaning we want? …

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