Music is Literacy

Does your school have general music in elementary school on up? I am a Professional Musician. The only music I recall in school was a couple times someone came in to sing songs with us in elementary school. I did singing on my own, musical theater on my own, piano lessons on my own, and music in things such as Brownies, Girl Scouts and Camps. We did square dancing in one grade in elementary school. We had recorders, song flutes actually, in 3rd grade and band in 4th grades on up. Choir started in middle school.

After becoming a General Elementary Music Educator in recent years, I have realized how difficult it is for those students who have had no piano, guitar or other music to start Beginning Band instruments or more to start a band or orchestra instrument. Without a basic music curriculum, starting an instrument in any grade, whether or not it’s 4th or 6th or High School, presents a significant challenge to a music student. 

Music experience during early childhood can promote language and literacy skills, particularly phonological awareness, vocabulary, and turn taking. Other skills include self-regulation used for communication. Incorporating music activities into the early childhood classroom can be particularly useful for Dual Language Learners’ (DLLs) language development. There are links between music experience and language and literacy development. 

Hearing and audiation in music is related to speaking and language proficiency. Rhyming is related to language but it is also related to rhythm and can be related to tempo. When we perform music we sometimes have words in singing, and in any form of music there is a tempo of a piece, a rhythm of a line of a melody and pitch and expression. Words can be expressive in speaking as well as singing. Music can be expressive with or without words. So many of these things overlap with each other. 

Music is a universal language that can be learned at a young age. A student could never learn to compose or create their own music if they were not literate in music. Starting an instrument without basic knowledge is possible but learning one without any music literacy is a whole lot of elements coming at a student all at once. It would be similar to expecting a student who could not read or write to compose a poem or story. Learning an instrument requires the ability to learn to hold the instrument, make a sound on it, fingerings or finger positions or bowing technique, or air technique. While doing this if you do not understand how to read rhythm or notes on a music staff, then you would also be trying to do that at the same time. This is why many students do not keep playing an instrument for long, because it is or can be simply too difficult for some students…too overwhelming with so many elements being put together simultaneously. 

If your school does not promote early music education, consider trying to find out why and encouraging it to be added to the curriculum. If you have the capability to give music education to your children outside of school that is terrific! Not everyone has the means. When we talk about the practice of “No Child Left Behind”, schools should consider making sure that includes Music Education as well as the other basics. Music Education promotes so much more success in the general classroom.

If you are looking for a fun, easy way to introduce your child to music theory, be sure to check out the game-filled Ultimate Music Theory Club Classes.  These classes are the perfect way to help your child become more familiar with the basics of music in a way that excites and entertains them.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top