I am an elementary school music teacher. I spend my day singing and dancing with very happy little people. What could be better than that? And, those little people are learning and growing while they are singing and dancing with me. I actually started out my working life as a music therapist. Although related, music therapy and music education are very different. Both jobs, of course, use music. But, in music therapy, the music is used as a tool to work on extra-musical goals. In music education, the teacher is teaching music skills. But, because I have had the experience of both careers, I understand the many hidden benefits of music. Here’s a simple example. When a child is playing a xylophone and making a simple steady beat to the music, there’s a LOT going on there. They are working on fine motor skills by holding onto the mallets and making them work in just the right way so the xylophone bars are ringing. Their attention span is increased as they focus on the sound of the music and sifting out a steady beat from all the other sounds that are present in the room. They are working on social skills because they have to listen to all the other xylophone players around them and get their beat in sync with everyone else. As they listen and follow the music, they are gaining self confidence because they can hear the beautiful sound they are making. All of this doesn’t even take into account the music skills themselves. Learning how to play or sing in an ensemble is a skill that everyone can use throughout their entire lives. So, I would suggest that if you haven’t sung or danced today, do it!! It will make you feel really good!!!
I have the best job in the world December 6, 2009