Singing and the Standards

Are you convinced singing is super important? Beneficial? Crucial? If not, read yesterday’s post.

Now, how do you convince others (administrators, parents, students, etc) of the importance of singing? We do not need to conform to the pencil/paper culture of other subjects. (Of course, sometimes we need to use pencil and paper, but certainly it’s not the majority of the time.) We need to actively participate in music making. And our principle instrument is internal: our voice.

The NAFME website names the core music standards as:

  • Creating
  • Performing
  • Responding

In particular:

  • Students need to have experience in creating, to be successful musicians and to be successful 21st century citizens.
  • Students need to perform – as singers, as instrumentalists, and in their lives and careers.
  • Students need to respond to music, as well as to their culture, their community, and their colleagues.

Our reason for being is not to simply give the other teachers a planning period. Nor is it to practice math, reading and writing (of words). It is in developing our voice, our inner ear, our sense of rhythm and phrasing, our ability to “enter” different times and places by singing songs from history and other cultures – that allows us to become better at all of the other subjects!

In Early Childhood classes, babies and young children improve their language skills, expression, balance. Young readers learn their alphabet and rhyming words – and yes, they reinforce their reading ability if you put the lyrics on the screen as they sing – or even if you only put up the rhyming words (see this song). Counting songs help reinforce their numbers. But, by adding the tune and motions, they are able to learn more quickly and store the memories more permanently in their brains. And all of the different learning styles are being taught!

Students can experience putting different sections of music together (verse/refrain; AB). And they don’t have to just learn about form, but they can make their own contrasting sections (see this song). My recorder book has several songs like this. Also, I tell the students singing is one of the only ways they can “go back in time” – by actually singing songs that were sung by people long ago. (We can’t wear their clothes or eat their food, but we can sing their songs!) We can enter into other cultures by singing their songs, which of course, aids in learning other languages. Of course, sign language is also a language!

Teach them to sing with expression: it improves their empathy.

Teach them to listen to each other as they sing. We are all on the same team with the same goal! There are NO winners and losers in music! The better you do, the better I do! We become more socially conscious and more kind and respectful citizens.

Shout it from the rooftops! Put up signs of quotes that promote music education (see tomorrow’s post). Add music quotes to your school’s website or newsletters….

You are one of the only advocates in your building for your super-important subject. So, sing!!!

Share your experiences:

Are you feeling alone in your building? Do you feel supported or abandoned by your administration?

What are some ways in which it is difficult for you to explain / justify music to your administration?

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