If Music is an emotional experience which involves

If you asked teachers why music and
singing takes place in schools, you would most likely get a varied response. ‘To
support SEN; supports school cohesion; helps with a sense of belonging; a tick
box for Ofsted…’ the list continues. Whatever the reason behind the ‘why’,
music and singing in classrooms enhances learning because of how it makes
people feel. Love it or hate it, music resonates and in most cases, embeds
itself into our synapses. This begins with our early days in the womb
responding to movement and a mother’s heartbeat and continues in various forms
throughout life.

Among classic nursery rhymes, children
first learn the Alphabet song along with numerical counterparts and Phonics is
the foundation for reading and writing beginning with letter sounds.

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The science

Children
struggling with language can express their feelings with immediacy through singing,
dance and movement, this includes those with EAL and SEN. It provides a sense
of belonging. Neurological studies1 have demonstrated that
singing involves an array of areas in the brain, particularly the speech and
sound senses. Music is an emotional experience which involves the activation of
3 biological systems: The endocrine system, the immune system and the nervous
system (Welch 2006).

It
oxygenates the blood similar to aerobic exercise which will stimulate the brain
to be actively ready to learn, reducing stress and fatigue (Ibid). Because of
the amount of airflow in the respiratory tract, colds and flu bacteria will be
reduced.

The
kinesthetic learner

In an
inclusive classroom, supporting learners to access education in a variety of
different ways will increase attainment as well as promote a classroom culture for
learning.  Music IS inclusive. Multi-sensory
learning will support not only those with SEN and SEMH needs but will boost
communication, speech and language skills of all learners. It is confidence and
self-esteem enhancing. Enabling brain breaks, initiating music into lining
up-time, adopting music and singing for simple rules such as singing ‘Everybody
stop!’ brings the concentration into focus. For kinesthetic learners, using
musical instruments or turning everyday objects into musical instruments or
sensory tools for calming certain behaviours i.e. Autism, will support the
child to adopt good behaviours for learning through self-expression.

The cross-curricular
linkages

Music and singing supports the use of the English
language – especially with EAL children. It can be described as a universal
tool to make lessons, more stimulating, engaging and creative. It can cross
cultural divides, break barriers, and address poor behaviour by creating an
outlet for pupil frustration. This is dependent of course on their appetite for
singing. Singing should not be reduced to simply the Christmas nativity
(however valuable), but used as a tool to support English language lessons in
particular and songs can be used to introduce a wealth of topics. For example,
during a space topic in KS1, Year 1, I used a Youtube video to explain the planets which began with the sun

1 https://musicmindandbrain.wordpress.com/2011/05/07/psychological-aspects-of-singing-development-in-children/
14th January 2018