Heart to Heart: Inspiring Kids Through Music
A well-rounded education requires more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic. The arts are important too, and music teachers can make a difference in a child's education.
As a music lover, you've known for as long as you can remember that the world can't be described solely through hard facts, logic and statistical analysis. Think back to your experiences in music class as a child. How central was that daily dose of creativity and beauty to your development as a well-rounded person? How deeply did the words, rhythms and harmonies of your music teachers affect you? If you thrill at the thought of making a similar impact on students' lives and earn a good living in the process, you'd make a great music teacher.
A Softer Touch
Kids absolutely need to learn basic math and science skills as well as the historical facts and analysis that contextualizes the world in which they live. Unfortunately, the American education system often places too much emphasis on economic competitiveness and enshrines these skills as the only means by which to achieve it.
Music, on the other hand, engenders honest, emotional reactions in just about everyone, including schoolchildren. Along with recess, music class is the one structured period of the day in which kids are given the freedom to express themselves. The process of playing and listening to music dissipates the tensions they've built up over the course of the day, and they leave class feeling happy and refreshed. They might even pursue their other studies with renewed vigor and passion.
As a music teacher, you won't just be establishing emotional connections with your students and improving their mood. You'll be imparting real-world skills that they'll use for the rest of their lives, including:
- Reading skills. Although your students will already know how to read English, teaching kids to read music reinforces many language-reading skills and improves reading speed, comprehension, and fluency.
- Teamwork. Even if you're not the school's band teacher, a great deal of your curriculum will focus on group-learning and performance. Your kids will have to learn to cooperate as a team during singing exercises, recorder sessions and other staples of music class.
- Responsibility. These days, kids in many schools take simple instruments like recorders home with them, and you'll be charged with monitoring their progress to make sure they're adhering to their practice schedule.
You won't just be teaching your students lessons that will see them through the rest of their education. Music can touch the lives of children in ways that adults can only imagine. Whether they're tapping out a melody on the xylophone or creating a vocal harmony with their classmates, your music class may be a defining moment not just in their primary education but in their very lives. Even if they don't become musicians, the inner creativity that you help unleash may serve them well in academia, finance, advertising or whatever business they do end up going into. Music class also provides an educational balance that momentarily removes students from the rigors of math and science education.
As a music teacher, you'll be the day's highlight for many of your students, and even kids who aren't musically inclined will relish the break that your class provides. Cultural education helps to foster creativity, passion, and a new way of looking at the world. Your students may even pass along the inspiration that your class inspires in them in due time to their own students.
Image Credit: CC BY 2.0/woodleywonderworks
Morgan Findley writes for several higher ed blogs. To read more about degrees in music education click here.
Copyright © 2012. Used with permission.