Playing tight - getting a feel for good timing
Everyone comes into contact with music at school eventually. For some it is an exciting affair and sometimes even the beginning of a musical career! Others, conversely, don't know what to do with music in class. It is clear that music in school is one of the most formative times for understanding music. Therefore, good first experiences with theory and practice play an important role. But how exactly can in-school music lessons be designed well and correctly?
Making music with other students often means that their first exposure to music and instruments is a very playful experience. This means children can get to know music comfortably, without the pressure to succeed. This is exactly what makes it such a good starting point, but that shouldn’t be in foreground of music lessons. By playing the various instruments, many students develop an interest in history and would like to work more with the respective instruments. In order for music to come to life in school, it is therefore important to have a good mix of diverse examples, your own creative phases, and additional theoretical input.
Above all, however, the shortage of teachers means that music lessons are lacking the practical component. This either leads to various instruments being played without a plan or concept, or to music lessons becoming very theory-heavy. In the long run, however, both of these take away the pupil's desire to make music.
Another potential problem with teaching music in school is that motivated students study with students who have no interested in music. While the music in class can be very demanding and encouraging for some, the lessons can be a test of patience for others. Compared to a music class outside of school (which is more likely to be populated by genuinely interested learners), students in a school-based music class might be less inclined to show their interest. Additionally, school-based music teachers have less time to focus on developing the skills and passion of their students.
At the same time, the freedom to make music in school is usually restricted by specific guidelines and exams. Pupils aren’t always free to choose their instruments or music genre. Put simply, if you always have to play the piano without really wanting to, you lose the fun of making music in the long term. This is exactly what must be avoided for good and lively music lessons in school.
In contrast to a music school, the focus is not only on the instruments and the most beautiful pieces. Historical elements, the theory of harmony and notes, rhythm and other aspects must also be conveyed in a short time. Since music is usually only taught for around 45 to 90 minutes per week in school, there is little time left for practice. Theoretical content could be better understood and internalized through practice and ideally ensure enthusiastic young musicians.
Even if theory is, of course, moving more and more into focus in secondary schools, a different standard is to be applied, especially in elementary schools. Playful impulses ensure that the fun of making music goes hand in hand with the first learning successes. The mixture of active play and intensive listening awakens a whole new level of joy in music. The more children and young people are reached with music lessons, the more positive the effect on the children's leisure time and mood.
Music is fun and helps children learn through play. For example, if you are learning notes, it is often easier to memorize vocabulary later. And even children who seem rather unbalanced can find their center again by making music. The musicians of tomorrow also sit in music lessons at school. Many talents sit in the classroom without knowing that they can make a career in music. This makes it all the more important that the right focus is placed on music lessons. Without positive experiences in music lessons, it would be reasonable for many students to register at a music school, for example. However, if the students are enthusiastic about the music lessons from the start, there is seldom anything in the way of their development as a musician. For many great musicians, learning music in school was an important first milestone. Especially if your own family does not have any musical traditions and therefore does not have any instruments.
In order to adapt music in school more to the wishes and needs of the students, one has to think beyond the classical teaching unit. So that a real interest in music and its many facets can be conveyed right from the start, the focus must be on the individuals’ wishes. This is the only way to make music more than just a subject in school. The following aspects can be a good approach to making music lessons more attractive and modern:
Every teacher has different ideas about the lively communication of music. Just because your own enthusiasm has already been aroused, this does not automatically apply to the students who are present. While the children in elementary school are usually still easy to inspire with practical music, this is not so easy with music lessons for young adults. But we can change that:
Students don't have to be unmotivated and music lessons don’t have to be boring. Music teachers can use the following tips to help them organize their lessons:
These tips show what’s really necessary for dealing with students in a good music lesson: A good mix of theory and practice, musicians with heart in the role of the teacher, and a certain amount of musical freedom. In addition, the musical exchange with other students during music lessons at school becomes an important part of musical development.
Of course, there will still be students who just don't enjoy music. And that's fine. It is clear, however, that practical and well-planned teaching units ensure that significantly more students are enthusiastic about music and continue to make music in their private lives. If you want to exchange ideas with other music teachers about the design of the lesson, take a look at our Discover page on mukken or place an ad yourself.
If you’re interested in more musical knowledge or interesting articles from the world of music, many exciting articles await you here on the mukken blog. Whether you want a closer look at individual instruments such as the guitar, tips for marketing your music, or features such as the US rock quintet The Shins, you’re sure to find the right article for you here. You are also welcome to register on our mukken portal and find fellow musicians or exchange ideas in our mukken community!
Originally published on November 17, 2021, updated on January 11, 2022