In many schools this year and in particular, those that are practicing on the side of caution with virtual learning, musical education has taken a back seat. With many budget cuts across the school systems, music seems to be one of the first programs that take the brunt of losing its funding.
But at its core, music is a foundation for all types of learning. As babies, we learn language and sounds by listening to songs. Music is not a subject that should be missing from our curriculums, so in this case, we should be making sure to keep music education in our lives, which might mean teaching ourselves, or our children, at home.
Here are some great ways that you can help keep music alive in your student’s curriculum, the importance of self-education for music studies for added value, and the benefits that come from incorporating music education.
START WITH YOUR MUSICAL INTERESTS
Any interest in music can be turned into an educational opportunity. There are many questions you can ask of yourself or your at-home student, such as:
- Would you be interested in learning to play a specific instrument?
- Do you love to sing or dance?
- Do you like writing stories or poems?
- Do you enjoy learning about people and their lives?
- Are you interested more in the rhythms of songs, or the lyrics?
Many of these questions can help you find a basis for self-learning in a way that is interesting for the student. Most of the time, in school, students have to motivate themselves to work on learning subjects that they don’t really care for, but with music, there is something for everyone.
For example, someone who likes to write might be more interested in learning how to write music, rather than play or sing it. Someone who enjoys plunking notes on the piano might be more apt to learning to play from NYC’s own Music To Your Home’s piano lessons. Others who love to sing and want to learn how to perform could consider virtual one-on-ones with a vocal instructor. There are also numerous online tutorials that you can find, some even for free, that can help you get started in your musical direction.
INCORPORATE READING & WRITING WITH MUSIC
You can simply incorporate music into learning by listening to music while doing work, but there can be so much more to it than this. Certain things like music theory and music application can go a long way in the learning experience.
One of the ways for an avid reader to take in musical education would be to read about music, whether it is reading an autobiography on a favored artist or group, or possibly just doing some research about a musician’s career. This would include listening to their music and noting how it progressed or changed throughout the years, what musical genre(s) were incorporated, and how the musician(s) developed their style or changed the music world.
The next part after the reading would come to the writing – finding ways to report on what you learned about the musical journey that the musician(s) took and how they turned out in the end. You can even reference specific things that were said, sung, and/or played – lyrics to music or the way the musician played as an attest to prove your findings. This plays into the idea of creating a theory and proving it through research – much like you would do in a Science or Math class.
Self-directed education, in this aspect, would include creating a curriculum based upon a specific music study. In this particular case, with reading and writing, you would utilize your local library to borrow books specifically geared towards musical artists, to study independently. The objective for your music studies would be to find the value within what you are reading or writing about that is worth sharing in educating others.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MUSIC THEORY
Another aspect of musical reading and writing could be to learn how to read music – as in, Music Theory. This would entail learning specifics like key and time signatures, chords and sounds, as well as the overall structure in songwriting. You might look for a musical masterclass online or possibly obtain a tutor to assist you in these musical endeavors if you would like to learn more.
For any student interested in learning how to play an instrument, music theory would be an essential part of their learning. This also requires students to learn rhythms, which is in a sense, how to count beats and know how much each beat is worth in different types of songs. The length that you hold out notes or rests and all of the various musical symbols used in sheet music are explained through Music Theory.
Students of music in self-educated learning or homeschool setting have the ability here to decide what level of music theory will help to develop and enhance their musical skills. This will create meaning within their musical studies while providing them with a more fulfilling and satisfactory self-taught direction.
MUSIC HAS MULTIPLE EDUCATIONAL AND SOCIAL BENEFITS
One of the biggest reasons for keeping music education a part of your or your child’s curriculum is the fact that there are numerous benefits to having a musical background. Previous studies that were done have actually shown that children who had musical backgrounds have improved academic scores overall, and also demonstrate higher levels of social and people skills.
Music has the ability to access the left hemisphere of the brain, which is more creative. The ability to connect both sides of the brain allows more activity to be utilized throughout the brain. As toddlers, their brains are still developing, and allowing for music in addition to general logic gives them the ability to utilize more of their brainpower.
Music instills the brain to expand in capacity for memory and recall through repetition, which also assists when needing to remember things for tests, carrying over into academics. There has been extensive research performed that clearly demonstrates the connection between music lessons and other academic achievements in school, specifically in math and reading skills.
CONFIDENCE AND SOCIAL INTERACTION
Music has the power to enforce moods and in turn, helps people to understand others better. Having empathy is an understanding through emotion and feeling that actually comes from music. It also affects people in allowing them to access their feelings and express themselves in a natural, creative, and healthy way. The creativity aspect is also a great reward since you have no limits to your freedom in things like writing and creating music.
LISTENING AND SPEAKING SKILLS
Music requires strong listening skills, and the performance aspect of those who learn an instrument or sing requires the use of public speaking – since essentially public speaking is almost the same as performing. Confidence is a huge factor (as well as your mindset) when doing this. Learning music does provide people with confidence since a large part of studies require lots of dedication to practice. Practice is one of the most important aspects of musical learning, and the better you get at your craft, the more likely you feel prepared to share it – hence building your confidence and preparing you to perform.
Taking charge of one’s own education when it comes to music allows the students to pursue their own interests, without imposing a certain curriculum. All of these benefits from music learning would still apply. Finding educational value within one’s own musical studies may involve attending a concert or live performance, experiencing music first-hand. This way of informal learning creates a unique and diverse way to deliver education to students while developing new skills and empowering them with new knowledge.
Whatever the reason may be, having self-directed music education at home is a must with music dying out in the school systems. Music has shown to provide people with improved health and wellbeing overall by providing a positive mindset and comfort. Music education is an essential aspect in helping people to thrive in an otherwise socially distant world that we are currently living in, giving us the opportunity to reach out and still connect with others.