CMVic's Position on Music in Schools
What are the educational benefits of singing and making music?
Singing and music making together develops memory capacity, attentiveness, pattern recognition, rhythmic understanding and facility, body/mind coordination, volume control, connectedness, curiosity and creative initiatives.
Singing together is particularly good for learning literacy and numeracy. It develops language structure and grammar, playing with language (eg: rhyming, alliteration), pronunciation, accents and rhythm of language. Because there can be limited text and much repetition with singing, it helps to reinforce many of these concepts in an enjoyable way.
Singing and music making is an effective memorisation device and an engaging introduction to history and culture. It’s great for mood control, for example: facilitating relaxation and calm, focusing and energizing learners as well as content delivery, integration of play and instruction, and the enhancement of events and occasions.
Making music together brings an awareness of self and others, provides emotional expressions and outlet, and develops identity, confidence, self esteem, a sense of achievement, expressiveness and health (mental and physical).
Making music together fosters cooperation and interaction (together we can do more than we can alone), simultaneous listening and vocalisation, group awareness (bonding/sense of belonging), the direct experience of synergy (the sum is greater than the parts), and embodies the values of diversity and respect across gender, age, culture and skill level.
Studying and practising music is valuable as an end in itself (not just as a way of becoming better at literacy, mathematics or personal development). It develops an understanding and appreciation of a beauty that is uniquely musical. We learn that by manipulating the elements of music we produce different results and can explore this unique and ephemeral art form.
Musical activity should be a daily event in Primary Schools
The focus should be on inclusive practical music making with an emphasis on singing.
Classroom teachers should feel empowered and equipped to lead or provide the opportunity for their students to engage in singing and music making activities.
Music Specialists as well as providing more in depth musical experiences, including music literacy and instrumental experiences, should be helpful in resourcing the classroom teachers as well as sharing ideas and expertise with classroom teachers.
The daily classroom music practice need only be a few minutes at the start or end of a session. It can be integrated into a current classroom theme or used as a teaching method or tool for other subject areas (see ‘Learning Capacities’ and ‘Teaching Methods’ above.)
It is important to develop a culture of singing and music making and for it to feel like a normal classroom activity. Five minutes at the start of each day will be more effective for developing a culture than one half hour per week.
What CMVic can offer...
...to people wanting to develop music making in schools:
We suggest you make contact with VOSA (the Victorian Orff Schulwerk Association) who run fabulous, affordable music-making and music leadership workshops in Victoria open to teachers, parents, early years workers and anyone else who is interested in making music with kids.
Come along to Community Music Victoria leadership skills workshops. Many people who work in schools have found them to be really useful as a place to learn and practice their skills, slot into a network for continued peer support and get great repertoire ideas that can be used instantly. Check out our CMVic Events page for details of upcoming workshops.