Guest Post – Music: A Powerful Teaching Tool!

 

Music: A Powerful Teaching Tool
    Education today has really changed. Morechallenging academic goals are set. Children are not all developmentally readyto tackle them.   Recently, I found myjournal from my teaching internship days and guess what? The curriculum taughtin first grade back then is now required in kindergarten! Kindergarteners arenow expected to read simple books independently and to write simple storiesusing correct punctuation and spelling common words correctly! It is a dauntingtask requiring lots of partnerships with parents and unique ways to makelearning fun and meaningful. Yes, the task can seem overwhelming, but it is notinsurmountable!  If you are reading thisinformation, chances are you are one of those amazing parents looking for waysto prepare your child at home. Do you want to learn about the most beneficialmethod I have found to teach children difficult concepts in a meaningful way?Read on!
     The answer is to use MUSIC to teachimportant concepts! If the information to be learned is set to a catchy,familiar tune, interest is generated! This increases motivationand excitement for learning. This leads to frequent rehearsal of the words toenhance quick memorization. Quick memorization in turn fosters easy use inreading, writing, oral language, and spelling.
   Think about this: Haven’t you learnedimportant facts through associating them with song? How about the alphabetsong? Admit it, do you still sing the song in your head when you put lists inalphabetical order? I do! Other concepts many of us learned through songs or poemsare the days of the week and months of the year. This is called a mnemonicdevice. Mnemonic devices or “strategies to help us remember” help the brain to make sense of andorganize new information in meaningful ways.
    Here aresome ideas you can use to teach your children concepts. Use the song “Row yourBoat” and sing letter sounds to it. This is how it would go:”A says (sing shorta sound 8 times to go with the song) but it can also say (sing long a sound 8times to go with the song), then repeat this for the rest of the alphabet.
    To teachspelling words, you can sing simple words like IS to the tune of We Wish You aMerry Christmas. Can you think of how to do that? Hum the tune first, and thenadd the spelling word: “I-S spells is, I-S spells is, I-S spells is I-S spellsis!”
     How about teaching vocabulary? Recently, I taught the newvocabulary word “migrate” to the children using the theme song from the movie Madagascar,which they all knew. “Migrate,” meaning “to move,” was incorporated so the songwas “We like to migrate, migrate.” The children sang this as I turned them intobirds, seals, whales, and reindeer and they moved to a different place in theroom! The children sang this song the rest of the day!
      One moreidea is  to show your child how to read athermometer: Here is a rap song. Clap an AAB pattern for practice first (anexample is to clap your hands twice for the AA part, and then tap your kneesonce for the B part of the pattern). Now add these words: Hey, Mr. Snowman! Youlook cute! You don’t need a warm snow suit. When the mercury goes down you comeout to play (act this out by stooping down to the ground). But when the mercurygoes up, you melt away! (come back up as you say “up”, then pretend you aremelting!)
    Try theseideas and see if your child learns the concepts! These are difficult conceptsfor young children, but I have found they are excited about learning them, whenthey are taught using music!
Kathy Goforth is a early childhood educator and creatorof a CD called Jolly Good Spellers which teaches children to spell familiarwords through music. For more information, or to purchase a CD, visit www.jollygoodspellers.com

 

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