“Music is the universal language of mankind”. - Henry Longfellow (1807-1882)
International Music Day, an initiative of the International Music Council, was first celebrated in 1975 in accordance with a 1973 resolution taken by UNESCO. The founders’ intention was to establish a day to promote the art of music across all segments of society and celebrate music’s ability to bring people together to share and enjoy each other’s culture.
At some point in our lives, we all come to enjoy and appreciate music. With so many music genres, there is something for everyone. In fact, research tells us that “Children who study music tend to have larger vocabularies and more advanced reading skills than their peers who do not participate in music lessons” (Arete Music Academy. "Statistical benefits of music in education. Accessed July 17, 2014).
Everybody loves a rhythm band! If you have rhythm instruments in your school, use them. Have students march around to establish a beat and then add on to it with their own creativity to make music! Try adding a song they can sing while marching. Alternatively, play a song and have them keep time with their instruments.
If your school does not have rhythm instruments, you can make some. Use plastic bottles with various amounts of liquid, stomp your feet, clap your hands and jump to the music. The goal is to have fun and develop an appreciation for a basic element of music – rhythm!
Also, don’t forget the fun of musical chairs. Join in yourself and have one of the students stop the music.
It’s time to dance! Kids love to dance and music is the vehicle that drives this creative movement. Whether it is a structured dance lesson in the gym or a casual session in the classroom, music and dance can wake up the senses and energize the brain and body.
When you notice students’ energy sagging, take a pause, turn on some music and get everybody up and moving! Dance around the classroom, around chairs and tables, moving arms and legs and getting that heartbeat keeping the pace. After the dance fest, ask the children what they noticed about their mood, their energy level, and their heartbeat.
Students at this age are discovering what kinds of music they prefer. Bring several samples of different kinds of music into the classroom. Listen to the various samples you have selected, and have students use adjectives to describe how each genre makes them feel. Incorporate some math by graphing class preferences of music genres. Go a step further and have students work in pairs to research and report on a musician or group in their favourite genre.