I was always a good student. I went to class and listened to the teacher. I even helped other students that needed help grasping the quadratic formula - math was my best subject. However, not all students have that same mindset. Most students want to know the why behind what they're learning and why they have to sit through a teacher explaining something they're "never going to use". We've all heard that before, or even thought it ourselves in our work seminars.
So what type of "why" makes all the learning worth it? It has be something that will help them now and in the future. Specifically for your music classes, what's the "why" that will stick and help students show up for class?
Letting students learn songs that they enjoy will definitely help. But I think telling stories that paint a picture of the "why" is our best asset when combating students who have a case of senioritis....even in their freshman year.
For all the data minded, fact-finding students, like me, this one's for you.
A study at the University of Toronto at Mississauga, published in 2004, found a small increase in the IQs of six-year-olds who were given weekly voice and piano lessons. E. Glenn Schellenberg setup three groups. He provided nine months of piano and voice lessons to a dozen six year-olds. The second group of six year olds had drama lessons. And there were no lessons for the third group.
"The children’s IQs were tested before entering the first grade, then again before entering the second grade. The children who were given music lessons over the school year tested on average three IQ points higher than the other groups. The drama group didn’t have the same increase in IQ, but did experience increased social behavior benefits not seen in the music-only group."
For the trendy students, this one's for you.
Brendon Urie, of Panic! At The Disco talks about how music became a type of therapy for him and the support system he needed to grow as a musician. His teachers helped him overcome the oppressive negativity he faced through bullying and growing up in a bad neighborhood. He quit one instrument that he wasn't very good at and pursued the one that unleashed his creativeness - the drums. His music teacher saw his fire and passion and didn't want to lose him in music class. He was determined to find an instrument he would enjoy.
For the college-minded students, this one's for you.
Colleges require one or two semesters in the arts - music, drama, dance, etc. Students need to take the classes, in order to be accepted into the college they want. While you have to be here, might as well learn something that might help you in college. "Research indicates that students who participate in the arts often do better in school and on standardized tests. The arts help you recognize patterns, learn to notice differences and similarities, and exercise your mind in unique ways."