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  • Writer's pictureCarla Tanguay, MA, MT-BC

Enriching Back-to-School with Music: Tips for Parents and Educators

Believe it or not, it is time to head back to school here in Maine. As parents and educators gear up for a new academic year, there's a wonderful opportunity to improve daily routines through the power of music. Music has long been recognized as a versatile tool for learning and emotional well-being, and integrating it into the lives of students and children can yield benefit for all of us. Here are 5 ways you can incorporate more music this year:

1. Start the Day with a Music Boost

Mornings set the tone for the entire day. Consider introducing a morning music routine. Whether it's a playlist of upbeat tunes during breakfast or while students arrive in your classroom, or more structured songs that you sing during morning tasks, music can help in several ways. Music can help set the right energy level, help kids remember the steps of a task, or provide familiarity and routine.

2. Use Music to help with Transitions

Transitioning between activities can be difficult, particularly for some kids. Music acts as a helpful cue, signaling the start or end of an activity. Try incorporating short, catchy tunes to signal transitions between subjects or tasks, making these shifts smoother and more engaging. (Read our blog post all about Transitions)

3. Explore Different Types of Music

There isn’t one type of music that is best for kids. In fact, the more different types of music children are exposed to, the better! Listening to music with a variety of rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic patterns can enhance auditory processing skills. Exploring music from different cultures can be a fun way to explore history, geography, traditions and identity. Exposing kids to a variety of musical styles also helps spark their own musical creativity.

4. Learning through Song

The research is clear- Music enhances learning. By setting information to a catchy melody, some students can remember facts and sequences more effectively. Think of the ABC song as a classic example. Songs with repetitive phrases or rhyming patterns aid in vocabulary building and pronunciation. Teaching children to focus on different elements of music, such as tempo, instrumentation, and dynamics can improve listening skills.

5. Support Emotional Health and Wellbeing

Music provides a healthy outlet for expressing emotions and opportunities to develop emotional awareness and regulation skills. Consider designating a "music corner" in your home or classroom where students can listen to music or explore instruments and sounds when they need a moment to regroup.

How Can a Music Therapist Help?

Music therapists are trained professionals who use music as a tool to address various physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. Here are some scenarios when a music therapist can provide support:

  • Different Learning Needs: Music therapists are adept at tailoring musical experiences for individuals with a wide variety of learning needs, ensuring inclusive learning environments that cater to diverse abilities.

  • Anxiety and Stress Relief: Starting a new school year can be stressful. Music therapists teach relaxation and stress relief techniques to help students, teachers, and parents manage stress.

  • Speech and Language Development: For children struggling with speech and language development, music therapy techniques can enhance communication skills.

  • Emotional Regulation: Through a variety of music-based techniques, music therapists help children identify, understand, and manage their emotions in a safe and supportive environment.

  • Social Skills Enhancement: Music therapists design activities that promote social interaction and teamwork, nurturing healthy peer relationships.

As we dive into a new school year, remember that music can be a bridge to enhanced learning, emotional well-being, and creativity. Parents and educators alike have the chance to make every day a musical adventure, while music therapists stand ready to provide specialized support to ensure that all students can thrive.

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