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The Arts In Every Classroom: A Video Library K-5

Teaching Music Activities and Discussion

All of the students at Harmony Leland Elementary School in Mableton, Georgia, study the violin. Here they work with music teacher Barrett Jackson.

Suggested Activities and Discussion

Consider these questions for reflection:

  • How can music be used to teach your students about other subjects?
  • How can music be combined with the study of other art forms in your curriculum?
  • What questions do you think are important for students to ask about music?
  • How does music provide a forum for student inquiry that can enhance learning?

Improving Practice
Here are some additional ways you can build on the ideas in this program in a variety of school and community settings:

Professional Development for Teachers

  • Consider ways you can incorporate music-based lessons in your class. How would you plan the material? What resources would you use? How would students benefit?
  • Think of ways you can use music to help make your teaching more effective; for example, to bridge language barriers or developmental gaps.
  • Consider how music impacts learning and behavior in your students’ daily lives. For example, do they memorize the words of advertising jingles or imitate clothing styles based on popular music? How can you use this learning process to focus their interest on classroom subjects?
  • As a group, visit a performance of your local symphony or chamber orchestra. Reflect on how the experience affected you. What would have made the experience more interesting or the music feel more familiar? How would you approach a similar experience with your students?

Curriculum-Planning Sessions

  • Include a music specialist teacher in your planning session. Invite the specialist to help develop a themed unit that includes music objectives.
  • Invite a musician or a representative of a local music organization to a session. Together, identify places where music would make the curriculum stronger.
  • Explore educational outreach opportunities offered by your symphony, chorale, or other music organization. Do they provide special programs to schools or have artists who might offer a residency in your school?

Community Outreach

  • Invite a music specialist teacher to comment on the work of Barrett Jackson and Sylvia Bookhardt, and explain how music is taught in your school.
  • Invite a representative of a music organization that provides outreach programs to explain how music can enhance learning at your school.
  • Invite community members to attend a musical performance by students.
  • Present reflections by students on how working with music has enhanced their readiness to learn or their academic achievement.