Thursday, October 3, 2013

Why do we HAVE to learn music?

"Why do we HAVE to learn music?"

That was the question posed by one of my students, yesterday. I will admit to getting rather choked up, frustrated, and annoyed at this question. Not because I don't have a valid reason for teaching music, or because I don't think students HAVE to learn music, but because it frustrates me sometimes that this question has to be asked. However, upon some reflection, I have asked this question about other subjects I HAD to learn in school. I never asked my teachers, but I did complain about these subjects at home. Like geometry, biology, geology... none of them seemed to matter.

So, why do elementary students HAVE to learn music. Many of you reading my blog already know the answer, but how do you explain its significance to a child who dislikes the subject? Are you going to actually convince them that it is important and that it does have benefits? I don't know, but I think it is our job to try. So, here is what I have come up with as an answer to this rather broad question:

MUSIC is the link between all subject areas:

MUSIC is about self-expression, creativity, and innovation. It teaches us about beauty.

MUSIC exercises the WHOLE BRAIN and allows children to do multiple things at a time.

MUSIC connects us to the world, reminds us of our history, helps us to communicate with others.

MUSIC expresses ideas and emotions that cannot be expressed any other way.

In conclusion, there is no question that MUSIC needs to be taught and everyone should HAVE to learn it. However, like many other things that are good for us, it does not mean we will always like them. I LOVE MUSIC and always have, but there are other things that are good for me that I don't enjoy like exercise, lima beans, and science, but it doesn't mean I don't HAVE to do them or HAVE to learn about them. It just means I don't enjoy them as much as I enjoy other things.

What are your thoughts? How would you explain the importance of music to a young child?

For more links to great articles about Music Advocacy check out my school website by clicking HERE.

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