Making A Musical Education

This website is designed to help bridge a common gap in elementary (and subsequent) education; the gap between what is taught as a "formal" education and what is taught in music. In particular, this site will focus on helping elementary teachers design an integrative, practical, and fun way to include music in their classroom practices. I hope this webpage provides a way for interested people to both take ideas and to leave ideas for ways to better use music in the classroom.

Traditionally, music education has been separated from the "core" subjects, such as language arts, math, science, and social studies, much in the same way art and physical education have been separated. In this age of constructive, crossover curriculum, it is surprising that music, art, and physical education have not been included in cross-curricular development. Music connects very closely with all of the core subjects mentioned above, and particularly with lanugage arts, math, and social studies at an elementary level.

Music and language arts share a similarity in language. In both we find particular structures that are used in the construction of each. An example would be a poem with A, B, A, B, A, C, A construction. A poem of this structure is very closely related to a traditional song form; chorus, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. Lyrics to songs are often considered poetry set to song. Surely there are a plentitude of ways to connect music to language arts. I have written a mini-lesson which can be used as an example for how one might use music in the classroom.

Music and math are interrelated in that music is based on a strictly mathematical system of construction. Music can be used to teach addition and division of fractions. Each measure of music must contain a set number of beats, though the number of allowable beats per measure is determined by the time signature. Melodies are usually comprised of a multiple of 4 number of measures of music, usually 8, 12, or 16 in traditional Western music. While children are learning multiplication, it would be easy to weave in lessons connecting time signatures with multiplication since time signatures are based on a certain number of beats per measure (i.e. 4 beats = 1 measure).

Music is an integral part of most, if not all, groups of people. It is one of the longest lasting traditions that is passed from generation to generation. The lineage of jazz, for example, is a fascinating and complex set of roots to follow with a multitude of connections to other areas of the social sciences. Each student could learn to trace his/her musical roots or could choose to trace the roots of any type of music.

At a higher level, music can be studied from a scientific point of view. The science of music sound, as well as the explanation for why instruments (horns, strings, voices) behave the way they do, as well as the design of performance spaces can be looked at in greater detail.


Children's Music Web

The Children's Music Web is an excellent place for anyone to visit and learn more about music. It is a very kid-centered and kid-accessible page.

Music Education Links Page

This is a link to a multitude of other musical links. These are primarily for older students or for teachers, though some of the links this link points to are appropriate for younger students.

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