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Music has always played an important role in my life.

I remember swinging on the swing

set while singing Bobby Days Rockin Robin. My cousins and I would put on concerts for our

aunts and uncles, and would sing everything we could think of, always being disappointed when

their patience ran out before we were ready to quit. I remember writing a blues song about my

first crush in third grade about. I remember hating piano lessons, but also how rewarding it was

once I was able to play Linus and Lucy by Vince Guaraldi. I remember holding a saxophone

for the first time and figuring out as many notes and tunes as I could once I got it home. Almost

every memory I have is attached to music. I am a strong believer that music should be taught in

all schools.

Evidence exists stating that learning music makes students smarter. Studies show that

learning music improves test scores along with math and reading proficiency. I believe that

teaching music at an early age is beneficial for a developing mind. Children learn the concrete

(lyrics) with the abstract (melodies and harmonies) exercising both hemispheres of the brain and

aiding in brain development. Singing songs in repetition helps speech develop and further

exposes children to new words and phrases. Children learn to analyze long versus short, high

versus low, and loud versus quiet sounds. As they begin to study musical form, they begin to

recognize patterns and variation. As they learn to read notation, they are forced to read music at a

set and steady tempo. Singing lyrics off of a page requires students to identify words more

quickly so as not to fall behind.

Music is a part of childrens play. If we go to an elementary school where

there is a congregation of students (the playground, the cafeteria, the hallways) we

are bound to hear someone doing something musical. There might be students

jumping rope while chanting to keep a steady beat for the jumper. Some students
might be playing a clapping game similar to Ms. Mary Mack. One group might just

be singing and dancing along to their own voices. Students even taunt each other in

sing-song voices. Whether we teach it to them or not, music is going to find these

children. It is our job to shape how it affects them.

As the students get older, music can become more and more useful as a

teaching tool. It is a subject that reaches across curriculum borders and

encompasses a whole lot more than just the arts. By studying different music of the

world, we can teach about the cultures that created the music. We can study what

music has been used for and compare that to how we use music in our culture. We can

tie music into a historical context. The StarSpangled Banner makes a whole lot

more sense to a student if they understand a little about the battle that inspired

Francis Scott Key. We can tie science into music by explaining the physics of sound

and how higher notes have a shorter wavelength than lower notes. We can even tie

musical form into how it is similar or different to literary forms. We could even have

the students write melodies for poems made up of iambic pentameter. Teaching

things of this nature can even improve the performance of the music that goes along

with it. Students will care about the music more and treat it with respect even if they

dont like a song or piece.

Talking about how music can improve test scores, math proficiency and

reading skills can convince many of why it needs to be taught in schools, but there is

something that it can improve that is even more empowering for an individual. As

teachers, we become concerned too often with proficiency. We are so worried about

how our school measures up to state and national standards sometimes that we
forget about what our real job is: preparing students for the real world. By helping

them be more analytical, we can help them to make more informed decisions in

their daily lives. Instrumental music especially can help to teach discipline and

responsibility. Learning to play an instrument or taking lessons for the voice rarely

have immediate payoffs once a certain level is reached. This teaches students that

good things take time, and that they shouldnt always take the easy path. Playing in a

group forces the student to take responsibility for their own playing. They will take

care with this so that they dont bring down the rest of the group. Hard work pays

off and it is much more rewarding to challenge ones self by accomplishing more

difficult goals than easy ones. Accomplishing more difficult goals builds selfesteem,

which in turn, inspires people to take more risks regardless of what the naysayers

might try to tell them. It makes for a more wellrounded individual.

Music is a wonderful outlet for many students, and can be used to teach so

much more.