Music and Academics
Most of us remember learning the ABC’s in school, which ultimately helped us learn the order of the alphabet and what letters look like. Still to this day when I am alphabetizing things I sing the ABC song to make sure I put everything in the correct letter order. Songs like this are so helpful, yet many teachers (and parents!) don’t use music as much as they could to help teach academic concepts. This month I am going to provide you with a few academic songs I was asked to create or modify to teach specific academic subjects.
Some people think that they have to create their own songs to teach concepts which can seem like a big undertaking. That’s not necessarily true! There are tons of songs out in the world of the internet that teach great concepts! Just make sure you preview them first and see how hard they might be to actually learn/use. One thing I like to do (and sometimes get asked to do!) is to modify songs that teachers find online. These songs usually teach great concepts, but are super fast! (I teach primarily preschool age and slow and predictable is always the most successful) The nice thing about actively singing songs versus listening to recordings is you can slow the speed or change the words to whatever you need! Take the song “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes”, for example. This song moves from body part to body part very quickly, and usually gets faster and faster! Instead try singing the same melody, but simplify the words “I am touching my head my head, I am touching my head my head, I am touching my head, I am touching my head my head.” Then go to the next verse “I am touching my shoulders my shoulders.” Etc. This slows things down so individuals who have longer processing times can understand and react to the instructions while also being successful with their peers.
When people think about songwriting and creating their own music, their hearts start to race and they immediately think “there is no way I can create a whole song”. I’m going to stop you right there and say push the pause button! Songs don’t have to be like what you hear on the radio, full of complex rhythms and cool melodies and harmonies and drums and guitar and piano and bass guitar and … and… and… you get the picture. Songs can be as simple as you need them to be, and actually when trying to teach academic concepts, the simpler the better! Here are some steps you can follow to create your own song for whatever you are going to teach!
Step 1: Think of a concept
Is the concept you are trying to teach counting, number identification, spelling, letter identification, science related, history related? Figure out what the main point is that you want to get across.
Step 2: Write the words
Figure out how you want to order the words and best describe or teach the concept. Break it down into steps and put them in order. If you want to try to rhyme the ends of your phrases, awesome! If that is too complicated for you, that’s ok too! Just write out what you want your child/student to learn.
Step 3: Sing!
Start singing the words you have written down. If you can’t remember what you sang the second time, then change the melody until you have something that is simple and that you can remember. Once you have a melody you can remember, record it (so you don’t forget later!) and sing through it three more times. This helps your memory internalize the song so you can teach it later.
Step 4: Use it!
When you are first teaching songs there is a step-by-step process on how to do that so it is as successful as possible. The first step is to sing it all the way through for the student to hear. The second is to sing it one line at a time and have the student repeat each line after you sing it. Do this a couple of times all the way through the song until they are starting to get it. Then have them sing it all the way through with you. Once you have done this initial introduction, you only have to sing it with the student all the way through. The more they practice the song, the quicker they will learn and remember it, then be able to use it.
Hopefully the process of creating your own melody, or modifying one to fit your needs will not seem out of reach with these steps. The ultimate goal is to help you utilize music for what you need!
Contact Us!I have been asked to write so many different academic songs so if you are still struggling with one, let me know and we can write one together or I can share mine with you!
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