Music is Magic

By |2018-10-04T22:49:45-07:00September 12th, 2012|

As far as I’m concerned, music is magic.

It can bring you up when you’re down and down when you’re up, make a menial task more fun, touch your heart, help solidify routines, make transitions smoother, and make learning more memorable.  Many teachers naturally use music as a management and teaching tool, especially in pre-school and early elementary.  For those who already use music, I will start with two websites that are good resources as you may already be doing many of the things I talk about here.  For those who are new to using music to manage and teach, read on!

If you would like to hear songs that others have composed to help with management or to teach content here are two websites that can help.

1.  Songsforteaching.com

You can download songs by various artists or purchase them on CDs and DVDs.  The site allows you to view lyrics and hear song clips so you can make an informed decision before purchase. These songs cover all subjects as well as management issues like transitions.

2. Educationalrap.com 

These songs are available for downloading and they offer a streaming music service which gives you unlimited access to their library. This site also allows you to hear clips and view lyrics.  It is appropriate for upper elementary as the songs cover topics like calculating volume or learning the circulatory system.  The songs sound sophisticated since they are written and performed as raps.  Each song has an instrumental version for practice once the students know the song and a version with key words deleted to check for understanding.

Last week I had suggested setting your classroom rules to movement with or without a chant or a song.  I had also mentioned that you could brainstorm a list of songs that are familiar to you and your students as a source of tunes for future use.  If you’ve done that, you are ready to roll.  Now you can create songs for any transition, routine, or subject matter and everyone will be able to sing them!  For example, try singing this one to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”

Getting into line
Ready for the hall
Our eyes are front
Our hands are back
And we are standing tall.

They are fun to create yourself but there is great value in composing them with your students.

It takes time but there are so many skills that get tapped in this activity: rhyming, syllabication, music and poetry form, rhythm.  You can extend it to talk about beats and how to fit that number of syllables into that number of beats.  That can get you into math concepts if you want to take it there as well.  (If we have 4 beats and 16 syllables, divided evenly how many syllables per beat?  What if we want to syncopate the rhythm? How can we divide the beats so that some syllables are sung more quickly than others?)  If the song is being used to review content this process also allows you to informally assess as you compose.  For upper elementary students, once you have practiced this skill often enough as a group, the students can start to create their own songs.

Using songs to manage or teach is less about music concepts and more about your main objective.  It is important to give music its own time but it can be an incredibly useful tool to access other content or help your room run more smoothly.  Unleash the power of music in your classroom and watch the magic unfold![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

7 Comments

  1. Jennifer September 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Love it! Thanks for sharing this. The ideas of routines set to music that kids know, and their creation of the lyrics is simple yet elegant! I also appreciate that you took it to the next level, so more sophisticated content area learning can be integrated at the same time.
    AWESOME!

    • Deirdre Moore September 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      Thank you for the feedback, Jennifer! Are you in a situation where you can use music in your work? If so, I hope you are giving it a try and that it is working…magically!

  2. Veronica September 13, 2012 at 6:37 am - Reply

    I smiled as I iread this magining a classroom full of students singing as they transition. Just the other day my middle school aged children were reminiscing about a song they learned that helped them learn the capitals of all the states. Music really does work!

    • Deirdre Moore September 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      I so agree, Veronica. School House Rock is the only reason I know (and can sing for you) the preamble to our country’s constitution!

  3. Nancy September 19, 2012 at 4:58 am - Reply

    Many students know the 50 states in alphabetical order thanks to “Fifty Nifty United States” (Ray Charles) – we have a great time learning it – younger students want to do it to keep up with siblings. Former students come back and tell me – I still know the states!

    • Deirdre Moore September 19, 2012 at 7:06 am - Reply

      Love it! I have also taken content we were learning in class and created short chants or quick songs to help students remember things like the stages in a butterfly’s metamorphosis. Here are 2 more as examples:

      (Even and Odd Chants)
      2 4 6 8 even numbers are really great!
      1 3 5 7 are odd numbers with 9 and 11!

      (Sung to the tune Home on the Range)
      George, George Washington
      You were our first president
      Commander in Chief
      of the whole Army
      And you fought for our independence!

      George, George Washington
      Because of you we are free.
      We don’t have a king
      He can’t tell us a thing
      You started a democracy.

  4. […] written on Education Closet before about how magical music can be and what a great tool those popular songs are for changing lyrics to establish classroom routines […]

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