Should Teachers Be Required to Have Musical Training for the Purposes of Music Therapy in the Classroom?

(Issue Series 2)

Ah, the age-old question.

Many schools have done away with music programs.

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This is a bummer.

Music is what life is all about. Let’s start with some cold hard facts. Or at least assumptions.

Music is a great outlet for people and is especially helpful in schools. Here are a just few of the many benefits, according to 20 Important Benefits of Music in Our Schools:

  • Musical training helps develop language and reasoning
  • Increased coordination
  • Emotional development
  • Students learn pattern-recognition
  • Musical instruments can teach discipline
  • Better self-confidence

The point of this list is to show you that music is a really important thing to feature in the classroom. For this post, I’d like to question whether all teachers should be required to have knowledge of music so that any teacher can engage in music therapy when need be. Since music is not a part of many schools’ curriculums, I think it should be introduced where it can and when it can.

Now let’s look at why teachers educated in music are beneficial to the school system. According to Why Preschool Teachers Need Music Education in Their Classrooms, Wendy L. Sims, Ph.D. says that it is important to provide musical environments for young preschool age children because “this is a critical period of growth in their musical skills and understanding.” Music provides a basis for interest in learning, and music therapy is a creative outlet in which children can release anxiety and get in tune with themselves.

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Dr. Sims goes on to explain that many early educators are ill-equipped in implementing music education into the classroom. “Often child development or early childhood education programs do not require even basic music proficiency or music teaching methods coursework in their curricula,” says Dr. Sims. Basically, preschool educators are not required to know a thing in regards to music. Playing soothing music during nap time is not enough to stimulate a child’s mind. They need to participate in music in order to gain skills and knowledge that they can use toward the future to solve problems and deal with anxieties.

Though it is not a required part of the curriculum and teachers are not necessarily trained in music, many engage their students by singing songs during group time (usually first thing in the morning and again toward the end of the day), move and dance with students, provide a music center where children can explore sound making objects, etc. This allows students a creative outlet while improving their academic performance and student engagement.

Why wouldn’t we teach music in schools? It’s literally proven to improve test scores, increase IQ, and help with language development, among a bunch of other things, according to The Benefits of Music Education.

So, back to the question at hand; should teachers be required to have musical training? What do you think? I think yes. I mean, it wouldn’t hurt. It would almost help. Even if funding is the problem, maybe this solution can take out the middle man of music teachers themselves so it’s kind of a win-win for the school system. Kids receive their much needed musical outlet, and teachers are well equipped to give them this outlet.

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