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Music Learning Supports All Learning
April 15, 2022
You'll sing a song, and I'll sing a song, and we'll sing a song together!
-Ella Jenkins, American Folk Singer

“From pre-numeracy to executive function, physical coordination to self-regulation, music uniquely supports children’s learning across developmental domains, including cognitive, language, physical and social-emotional. Music’s effectiveness as a teaching tool is greatly enhanced through interactive music-making with children’s important caregivers,” write Anne Sailer and Lauren Guilmartin in “Music Learning Supports All Learning,” the focus article of the newest Exchange Reflections. Sailer and Guilmartin go on to describe the benefits and supporting music activities for cognitive development, literacy and language, physical and motor development, social-emotional development, learning attitudes and habits, and even classroom climate.

In a similar vein, Harvard Graduate School of Education Ph.D. student and singer-songwriter Mariam Dahbi details five ways to use music “to not only spark creativity, but also promote multilingualism and build an inclusive classroom culture.”

  1. Introduce children to different kinds of music from a variety of cultures and traditions.
  2. Incorporate other languages into class songs.
  3. Let students create music and musical instruments.
  4. Involve families.
  5. Compile a repertoire of useful, multilingual songs around curriculum and vocabulary.

Music truly can make an early childhood class sing. Sailer and Guilmartin conclude, “Educators can leverage the inherent potential in music to enhance learning and development, helping children both grow into the musical beings they were born to be and reach developmental and educational milestones with more ease, less stress and long-lasting effects.”

What impact does music have in your program—or in your life? Share in the comments below!

NEW Exchange Reflections

Exchange Reflections are designed to help a team of people meet in-person or live online to think deeply together about a topic using an article from Exchange magazine as a guide. Included are discussion questions to help guide reflections, as well as a Making Commitments idea sheet to help prompt ideas into action. For your convenience, Exchange Reflections are available in PDF format and you can download immediately on your desktop.


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