Looking for music resources? Music often struggles to hold its own in the curriculum. A glance at the Australian and New Zealand curriculums shows why it should not be overlooked. Both frameworks see it as a fundamental experience of human expression on a personal and cultural level.
Think about the times you have used music to lift your mood or its significance to Māori, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. Therefore, children must encounter music as a meaningful subject, not just an occasional experience, during primary school.
The importance of teaching music in primary schools
In her research into the “Importance of Music in Education System,” Gojmerac (2018) sheds insights into the value of music throughout history:
“Music is the only type of art which was named after deity (Greek: mousike techne – the art of Muse). The reason why music was so respected is because music has suggestive power. This fact is known for centuries, and thanks to this, old civilisations, such as Ancient Greece, China, etc, understood the great power of music.”
The infamous ancient Greek philosopher Plato also pointed out, “Music is the best tool for education than any other.” Yet, it is a subject often overlooked in modern times.
Why? Music is viewed as non-essential and a means of leisure, pleasure and entertainment. There is a sound body of evidence, though, which shows its value to students.
Our music resource, SOLO Taxonomy in Music Education, outlines why it matters within primary school.
- Music is universal, crossing culture and time as a way to express ourselves and communicate.
- Long-term music training is associated with better cognitive skills, academic achievement and time management when compared to similar training in sports, dance and drama.
- It offers a fun and engaging way for students to learn how to learn.
- Music is an avenue for developing friendships and a sense of belonging.
- Music education fosters citizenship skills, for example, perseverance and communication skills.
- It builds creativity – the essence of any musical activity and an essential skill for 21st-century learners.
Music classroom ideas
For those primary school teachers who have little or no confidence in taking their own music lessons, our music resources are here to help.
Music resources: Music and More
Music and More targets children in their first two years of primary school. It is an easy-to-use resource with accompanying digital music files, learning intentions and a range of activities covering the elements and skills in line with Level 1 of the New Zealand Curriculum.
Elements of music include pitch, beat, rhythm and dynamics.
“Shining in the Sky” is a song in the same tune as “If You’re Happy?” It encourages children to become familiar with the beat and rhythm of the song as they clap at the end of each line.
As progressions, clapping can be replaced with common primary school musical instruments. For example, playing the triangle in the verse with stars and a tambourine in the verse with the moon.
As another progression, children can make up additional verses themselves. For instance, writing a verse about a comet that is represented by a xylophone.
Music resources: Play Me a Poem
As one may expect, this resource uses poems to explore music.
“Sound Searchers” is one of the easy and interactive music games for primary school students within the resource.
Once the teacher has read the poem, the students scavenger hunt for three objects creating different sounds. The students each take turns playing their sounds.
Next, they categorise the sounds associated with the objects according to the quality of sound – the tone colour. For example, the quality of sound from a triangle (high and tinkly) is different from that of a drum (low and grunty).
Musical notes can be daunting for students and teachers alike. The “In My Letterbox” activity is an easy way to familiarise students (and yourself) with these.
With each stanza or “letter” you read in the poem, open an envelope and bring out the matching musical note. Place or draw this on the board and, along with the students, count out the musical note.
For example, after reading the below stanza, you would pull out the crotchet and do one count (read as “ta”).
One Tuesday in my letterbox
What did I get?
One little note
I was looking like this
Your go-to for music resources
When compared to maths, English and science, music as a subject can be overlooked. Except it offers a means of learning how to learn, self-expression and belonging, which is central to our children’s development.
Our primary school music teaching resources offer easy-to-use activities – some of which we have illustrated here. Why not try them to bring energy, fun and learning to your classroom?
Gojmerac, I. (2018). Importance of music in education system. New trends and challenges in today’s Europe, 178.