Julie Eckenrode Academic Writing April 17, 2009 Music In the Classroom Imagine you walk into an elementary school

and stop a small group of children to ask where their music classroom is because you’re looking into studying music education but to your surprise you find that there is no music department at all in the school. This is what is happening in many schools today throughout the United States because of various state and federal standards. For some students music is the reason why they love to be in school and taking it out of the system completely is only detrimental to their own learning experience. But wouldn’t it be an immense proposal to have music incorporated in our standard core classes like language arts and math, that way students are enjoying music, a subject they love and at the same time learning an additional subject that our set to the state and federal standards? Some teachers of schools like one of in Maryland in fact try to use music and songs in the classroom of there core classes in order to capture the attention of their students because standards of the state and federal government have limited their school’s music department. LITERARTURE REVIEW: Music education is to be a tremens subject for children and their developmental creative ability. In Piaget’s cognitive theory of development the stage preoperational thought which is the age from two to about seven explains that children at this age acquire representational skills and even in the concrete operation stage which

Julie Eckenrode Academic Writing April 17, 2009 is children from the age of seven to about twelve these children can also represent transformations (Sandwell par. 2-3). Music even permeates the life of young children as well (LeeNardo par.1). This therefore is an essential time where children to be experiencing creative functions to learn, but with the state and federal standards as mentioned have limited this creative aspect in schools. Some of these state and federal standards are laws enforced by the government for instance, the No Child Left Behind Act. The No Child Left Behind Act comes from the schools new area of reform that is specifically goal oriented on math and language arts skills and is only accountable for those core classes. Although President Obama states, “I’m call our nation’s governors and state education chiefs to develop standards and assessments that [measure whether students] possess 21st-century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking and entrepreneurship and creativity” (Caruso par.), which with the No Child Left Behind Act there is no much room for creativity. This is only one example of the creativity taken out of school system, it is also mentioned that Common Core State Standards Initiative, an effort set from the National Governors Association develop and focus only on standards of math and language arts, not even science yet. The President of the National Education Association, Dennis Van Roekel explain in disagreement of the No Child Left Behind Act and Common Core State Standards Initiative concept that the

Julie Eckenrode Academic Writing April 17, 2009 standards it speaks of should not mean grades and tests for the students but rather the success in what a child exceeds at (Caruso par.). Students are pressured all the time to perform well on tests and acquire respectable grades but are these students really learning? Are they really retaining that information they were given? It’s said that, “We need human strategies, ways to reach the heart and soul [of students]” (Warhaftig par.6) and a way to do this is have music incorporated into studies. Teachers today, because of these standards set are not really teaching to intrigue students and retain information, but rather just to pass tests that are standardized to the state’s and government’s expectations. Kendall Hastings, Vice President of the Orchestra division at Depauw University states, “I feel that it is becoming more and more difficult to retain our passions because of the pressures we are getting from the ‘higher ups’ to increase tests scores’’ (Hastings par. 1). He also mentions how he ran in to a young girl at one school who told him how she use to play the violin but now because her test scores were low so now instead of taking orchestra she’s in a second math class (Hastings par. 2). Situations like these are because the state and federal standards are focused only on a child’s math and reading skills and not the least bit on extra curricular activities like music class and now certain students who do excel in areas like music are being left behind.

Julie Eckenrode Academic Writing April 17, 2009 Since schools are taking music out of the curriculum or have decreased its funding or participation in it, it’s now up to the math teachers and the language arts teachers to be incorporating music into their lessons. “Is there any good reason why we don’t use music more often when we teach children” (Elias par.1)? Teachers today are though in fact now adding music into their lesson plans not only because of the restrictions and dismissal of music education in some schools, but also because it is believed that “songs help children learn, but they can also calm and focus them an make them feel included, several teachers said” (Lieberman par.18). Many other teachers have found too that music can be used to relax students, especially children with ADHD (Lawrence par. 3). Various researches has been done and concluded that music is an excellent tool to use when teaching. Also one research found that music activates the students mind mentally, physically, and emotionally that enhances understanding (Brewer par.5). The brain is an interesting apparatus and when music is being played, sung, or heard it said to activate three different sections of the brain; language, hearing, and rhythmic motor skills (Elias par.3). With the brain working and concentrating on the sounds and rhythms this proves scientifically that music can truly enhance a child’s learning ability. Also it is associated that music can be linked with memories and it was conducted by a student Elizabeth Cady done with 124 participants, all about the same age choose from a list of songs that

Julie Eckenrode Academic Writing April 17, 2009 elicited the strongest positive memory and then she ranked how vivid their memories were when asked the lyrics to the song” (Manhattan par.1, 2). This experiment is an example of how catchy lyrics are a great way to students to remember simple arrhythmic material and other studies. But there are many other ways in which teachers can use music in the classroom besides lyrics; it’s just what are those ways? REASEARCH QUESTION: What are some creative ways to use music in the classroom to get students involved and intrigued and keep the creative aspect of learning? METHODOLOGY: To examine this idea I thought it best to interview a few teachers from a couple elementary schools and middle schools in the local Baltimore County area. The schools of which I went about were as follows: Pot Spring Elementary, Warren Elementary, Jacksonville Elementary, Cockeysville Middle School, and Ridgley Middle School. Then from each school I interviewed between two to three teachers ranging from third to seventh grade. What I was trying to find out from the teachers was what their school’s status was on music education and whether they believe that if they believe that state and/or federal standards have affected it at all. Next I was determined to find out if they ever incorporated music into there lessons. If they had

Julie Eckenrode Academic Writing April 17, 2009 incorporated music into their lesson before I ask what they did and how they came went about it. To go about this all I first contacted the teachers via by email and then when I received a response I came to the schools and conducted short interviews asking the questions I mentioned above. Next once I gathered all the information together I analyzed all the data. Some variables throughout this research were, not all the schools had a problem in the music department of their school, or some had only certain limitations. RESULTS: Pot Spring Elementary School: Music Education Department? Limitations to Department? Yes

Students under average miss music class for addition assistance in other subject.

3rd Grade teacher Interview Summary: • Uses musical instruments like rhythm sticks for spelling words out in language arts 4th Grade teacher Interview Summary: • Sang “50 Nifty States” to help remember the 50 states in America Warren Elementary: Music Education Department? Limitations to Department? 4th Grade teacher Interview Summary: • Uses “School House Rock” videos for various topics 5th Grade teacher Interview Summary: Yes None

Julie Eckenrode Academic Writing April 17, 2009 • Listened to Native American music when discussing topic of Native Americans for Social Studies Jacksonville Elementary School: Music Education Department? Limitations to Department? Yes Students under average miss music class for addition assistance in other subject. 3rd Grade teacher Interview Summary: • Sung “This Land is Your Land” for geography, “Bobby Bakers Band” for understanding consonants, and “My Name starts with the Letter” for spelling 5th Grade teacher Interview Summary: • Uses “School House Rock” videos for various topics Yes Cockeysville Middle School: Music Education Department? Limitations to Department? Students under average miss music class for addition assistance in other subject. 6th Grade teacher Interview Summary: • Class went into groups and made songs for a book they read in class 6th Grade teacher Interview Summary: • • Played African drums after lesson on African cultures Preposition song (sung to “Yankee Doodle”) 7th Grade teacher Interview Summary:

Ridgley Middle School: Music Education Department? Limitations to Department? 7th Grade teacher Interview Summary: Yes None

Julie Eckenrode Academic Writing April 17, 2009 • • Uses “School House Rock” video for various topics Has music playing before students come into class pertaining to the topic of the class that day DISCUSSION: From the research I conducted I have found that the teachers whom I interviewed have at least incorporated some music into their lesson plans and that those teachers somewhat believe “it is a powerful sight to see our students learning how to sculpt, drum act, and draw when these creative talents and disappearing from our nation’s schools” (Pripstein par. 3). And like many other teachers around the nation like one mentioned in the article, “Art is Life” it states, “I’d play music as a way of introducing social studies and I’d certainly allow students to make music of their own” (Cookson 2) just as some of the teachers I interview as well. It is now up to teachers to make music synonymous with our math, science, and language arts structured curriculum (“Keeping Score through Music” par.3).There are many programs of which teachers can use to come up with new creative lesson, like incorporating music into a study. Such programs for instance are, Keeping Score, which is an organization of many teachers collaborations on how to connect music to core curriculum. (Thomas par.1).

7th Grade teacher Interview Summary:

Julie Eckenrode Academic Writing April 17, 2009 Again with all the extra curricular activities such as music class being taken out of the schools’ departments or is limited because of these state and federal standards, like the standards of the No Child Left Behind Act, it is important for teachers to save that creativity their young, bright students have and incorporate music into their everyday lessons of math and language arts. It would be but a sad and boring generation if had had only but English scholars and mathematicians. Teachers cannot let this happen.