What learner, it does seem to be generally acknowledged

What we know about the cognitive
effects of music

Researchers
at Northwestern University have found that musical training enhances cognitive
skills, including development of language, speech, memory, attention and vocal
emotion. Scientists describe the brain’s ability to adapt more easily after
musical training during youth, calling it ‘neuroplasticity’. (Neuroscience
News, 2018)  Additionally, an article in
the Independent online (Baker, 2016) also links music to improved cognition,
concluding that listening to music during study can help improve focus.  This can be known as the ‘Mozart Effect’, as
studies show that classical music particularly can improve concentration and memory
when learning or revising.  When testing
the results of listening to Mozart for 10 minutes, scientists claimed
(controversially) that it raised listeners’ spatial IQ scores by 8 or 9 points.
(Jenkins, 2001)  Whether or not this is
true for every learner, it does seem to be generally acknowledged that song
lyrics are often easy to remember.  Adam
Sinicki (2018) explores the reasoning behind this, stating that the key factors
for recognition and recall in songs are repetition, connections between lyrics
and melody, patterns and rhymes and emotional connection.

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Other valuable elements to music

Other
notable benefits to using music to enhance learning can be seen through both
personal experience and classroom-based experience.  For example, when teaching in Year 1, I
noticed that the children remembered how to count to 100 through singing the
numbers to a repetitive melody.  They
were able to use this when counting big numbers.  Similarly, much of the French vocabulary I
can still remember was learnt through songs. 
The connection between the melody and the lyrics resonates much more
than words learnt on their own.

 

In terms of
confidence and creating a feeling of belonging, music can unite people through
its inclusivity.  Everyone can make music
using his or her voice, hands and feet and surroundings, and working together
to create music is very rewarding and community-building.  Different types of music and instruments and
sounds can also help to generate understanding and tolerance between different
cultures.  Additionally, singing and
dancing raise endorphins, helping to improve mental health, confidence and
enthusiasm for learning. (Horn, 2013)

 

In practice

I am really
excited about using music and singing to enrich my teaching practice and give
pupils the best opportunities for learning, self-expression and well-being as
possible.  I intend to use song to learn
tricky concepts, adapting ideas like the maths big numbers song for KS2 classes
in Science, Maths and Literacy.  I also
like the idea of using music or rhythm to help improve behaviour, with
techniques such as repeating clapping patterns or little songs to get attention
or to help a smooth transition between subjects or classes.

 

As well as
using music throughout a range of subjects, I hope to provide pupils with
extra-curricular musical activities, such as choral singing or dancing.  In a variety of ways, I hope to promote and
develop a love of music among pupils, encouraging them to develop in confidence
and be brave, make mistakes, work together and boost their learning experience.