My previous posts introduced Music and Multiple Intelligence, Music and the Body, and Music and Nature.
Humans sing to express emotional meaning beyond mere words. Because of this emotional connection, when words are combined with music they are easier to learn and easier to remember. Learning songs have long been used in primary school classrooms, usually to teach knowledge by rote in mathematics and languages. In 2010 I spoke at a conference in the south of France about music and mathematics and met Colorado-based Susan Gross, an international authority on teaching language acquisition through music. Susan’s workshops show musically inexperienced teachers how to integrate songs with knowledge to help students learn faster and remember for longer. The use of song to enhance learning in almost any discipline is limitless. In mathematics there are numerous commercially available songs that teach formulae, mostly involving geometry and counting. Even more rewarding would be to have students write their own songs.
We do it effortlessly and learn it in infancy, but using words is still the most complex thing we do. Yet Yehudi Menuhin refers to music as “a form of expression more in touch with our emotional selves and clearer than the abstract nature of words”. Nonetheless we need words to make sense of our experiences. Perhaps words cannot describe every experience, but even the attempt deepens the experience.
Events related to emotional experiences are more memorable than non-emotional events. This is why history teachers teach the tragedy of war with fitting music. Who could recollect a movie such as Schindler’s List separate from its hauntingly poignant theme?
My next post will explore Music and Numbers.
An excerpt from ‘Learning Strategies for Musical Success’ by Michael Griffin
“A must read for all music educators” – Robert Adams, New Haven, USA.
“Super book. I am so impressed!” – Donna Michaels, USA
“Fantastic book, simply brilliant! – Ian Cooper, Norfolk, UK
“Don’t miss this opportunity!” – Mary George, USA
“Rarely do I come away feeling so inspired. Incredibly beneficial.” – Music Matters Blog
“Such a practical book. SO glad I purchased this. – Jocelyn Beath, NZ
“Most stimulating!” – Nicholas Carpenter, Prebendal, UK
“A must buy for every music teacher and music student” – William Bruce, Teacher of Strings, UK.
“Deeply impressive, the breadth of research is fascinating!” – Robert Chamberlain, Team of Pianists and Monash University Piano Staff, Victoria Australia.
“Awesome! I want to recommend it to every teacher I know” – Michael Williamson, Australia
“I loved it. Extremely helpful and inspiring!” – Cheryl Livingstone, Australia
“The best resource for music educators” – Andrew Heuzenroeder, Australia
“I have read your book and it has made an amazing difference in my teaching and in my studio.” Beth Cruickshank, Past President – Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association.
Also by Michael Griffin
Music and Keyboard in the Classroom: Fundamentals of Notation is a unit of work for general music middle school classes. Designed around the mastering of practical skills, it integrates theory, aural and history, and allows students to progress at their own rate. View Table of Contents. “This has been a great buy; the books are just superb! Interesting topics with a wide range of pieces. Great content with clear progression of learning. Fascinating teaching philosophy! BRAVO!” -The Grieg Academy, London. Available at Amazon.com
Music and Keyboard in the Classroom: Let’s Get Creative! is the fun and creative extension to ‘Fundamentals of Notation’.
View Table of Contents. “We have been using your keyboard course and the results have been amazing!” – St George College, Australia
Available at Amazon.com
Second edition. Bumblebee! is more than just a collection of 123 choir exercises and rounds. The author shares timeless wisdom to help you get your choir – primary or secondary – into shape.
View Table of Contents.
“This is really good for all kinds of vocal groups, choirs, conductors. Bravo!!”
“The thinking person’s guide to training a choir. Love it!”
“It’s great to have some fresh warm-ups to add to the repertory. The tips for actions and techniques are really useful, and the advice at the back of the book has made me review some of my strategies.”
Modern Harmony Method: Fundamentals of Jazz and Popular Harmony (Third Edition, 2013) is a clear and well organised text suitable for students of arranging and composition, and for classically trained musicians wishing to grasp the beautiful logic of jazz harmony. Essential understandings include chord selection, voicing, symbols, circle of 4th progressions, extensions, suspensions and alterations. Included in the 107 pages are explanations, examples, exercises and solutions. The course can be started with students in year 9 and worked through to year 12 musicianship, composing and arranging. Available at Amazon.com