The month of March is a very special time for our schools. The entire month is dedicated to music appreciation in the school curriculum. The great news is that practically everyone loves music, especially kids! By nature, children are very social creatures, with minds that are perfect for shaping and molding!
By giving a child an outlet for creativity, such as music, we give them an opportunity to relate and share memorable experiences with their peers. Those memories will carry them on their journey to adulthood. There are so many wonderful things that a simple music program can do, so if you’re looking for ways to incorporate Music in Our School’s Month into your own classroom, here are a few ideas.
But first, here’s some info on why music is so important to begin with, just in case any of your student’s parents or caregivers ask about the addition of music to their curriculum!
It is the number one desire of educators and parents to maximize the development of a child’s mind. You can make the most of these early years with age appropriate activities. For example, a five year old can learn songs that rhyme and have a fun beat that they can memorize. This also gives opportunity to introduce a foreign language, which will greatly benefit them as they grow! An older child can fine tune his or her motor skills by learning to play a instrument like the flute, drums, or piano. Students who receive early musical training will naturally develop the areas on the left side of the brain, which supports growth of language and reasoning.
Emotional development is another crucial part of a young person’s growth. By learning about music from all around the world and historical events, students can develop empathy. These kids have a better control and understanding of their emotions, giving them a higher rating of self esteem. A lot of kids can feel stressed out at various phases in their school work. Offer your child a way to relax, while teaching them a valuable lesson in rising to challenges and disciplinary skill. Click this link for a list of even more child development benefits.
Looking for a few ideas to implement more music into your classroom? Here are a few of our favorites:
Create an Orchestra Book: Have students create a picture book of all of the instruments used in an orchestra. Here is a complete list of each piece. This activity can be easily tailored to every age group. Younger students can learn how to color and categorize what each instrument is, and you can have older kids do some research and learn names of famous performances as part of a scrapbook.
Teach Rhythm: Give younger kids free play time to explore sounds. Teach older kids how to maintain a beat and even make up their very own song. Some popular forms are drums made of coffee cans, shakers of paper tubes and rice, rubber bands…let your students use their imaginations! The Scholastic program has a great craft and resource list here. If you are interested in renting your own equipment, we have you covered. Click here to learn more about instrument rentals. You can rent an entire orchestra if you really want to!
School Trips: Give kids a full, hands on experience with a field trip! Look around your community for musical productions. Most high schools and colleges have live performances listed. Are you lucky enough to live in a large city? Consider taking a field trip to the Opera House or Broadway show. A class trip to a place like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or the Grammy Museum is a great recommendation for older kids. Encourage them to learn facts and trivia as they go!
Movies: Designate a special day each week of March to watch movies that are all about music. We suggest Mary Poppins or Annie for the younger crowd, and just about every Disney ™ film is comprised of music! Oh and don’t forget the timeless tales of The Wizard of Oz and The Music Man. The classic Mr. Holland’s Opus is sure to become a favorite of your older kids (and their parents!) alike. This movie is based on a true story that will inspire everyone! Make sure you check out the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation to discover more ways to keep music alive in school. The dynamic foundation is especially known for getting musical instruments donated to underprivileged communities and teaching arts programs all over the nation!
Perform! You don’t need a drama department to get your kids into show biz! Gather up the PTA and plan your very own musical production. Your kindergartners will have a blast retelling the fable of The Three Little Pigs or Peter and the Wolf. If you want to go even bigger, Beat By Beat Press has a list of musical productions and cabarets that you can purchase for your 7-14 year old’s. Did you know that you can perform a Disney ™ musical, right in your own hometown Performing Arts Center or Elementary school auditorium? This is a perfect opportunity for those students that want to pursue careers in music and acting. All you have to do is contact Disney Theatrical Licensing. They even provide you with authentic backdrops and musical scores, plus step by step instructions.. We found their official FAQ sheet, so you can get started !
Get in the know, and get involved whenever and wherever you can. There are resources dedicated to musical enrichment for all ages. We did a bit of research and came up with these top four amazing school outreaches:
- Music in Schools Initiative- Yale School of Music- Yale University
- The Give A Note Foundation
- Memphis Music Initiative
- National Association for Music- nafme ™
Donate and Do Something Great!
If you have gently used instruments, records, record players, etc. gathering dust in your attic, consider gifting them to a school or church program. And as always, it’s never a bad idea to just give your school a call and see how you can help out!
Offer your skills and resources as a painter or construction to help kids build sets for their performances. Donate your old clothes and furniture to the prop department. If you’re an aspiring makeup artist, consider lending some of your talent on a schools opening night. Your involvement and dedication goes beyond just the month of March. Most towns and cities host Art in the Park and Farmer’s Markets where music is all over! See how you can get yourself and your kids involved. Good luck!