From Lyrics to Learning: Music in Our Schools Month and Multilingualism

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Classroom Application
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Music enhances the education of our children by helping them to make connections and broadening the depth with which they think and feel. If we are to hope for a society of culturally literate people, music must be a vital part of our children’s education.

~Yo-Yo Ma

Music in Our Schools Month, celebrated each March, highlights the vital role of music education schools. During this annual event, students, teachers, and advocates come together to celebrate music’s positive impact on learning. TeachersFirst has an entire collection of Music in our Schools Month resources to help you find innovative ways to enrich students’ experiences. This March, let’s explore music’s transformative power – from enhancing language acquisition to building cultural appreciation. By integrating music into our schools, we can unlock its full potential to captivate young minds. 

Music allows students to express themselves and connect regardless of their language. For multilingual students, music offers many benefits beyond language acquisition. Students develop listening skills, pattern recognition, and memory retention through music. Music provides a common ground where students can collaborate, create, and communicate. Let’s explore how integrating music into our curriculum can create inclusive learning environments where all students thrive.

Exploring musical genres and styles from various cultures provides musical diversity experiences. These experiences provide opportunities for students to share songs from their heritage and discuss the cultural significance behind them. The National Jukebox (reviewed here) is a historical music library collected by the Library of Congress that allows you to search by category, vocal type, language, place, target audience, label, date range, composer, performer, author, lyricist, and genre or combine several categories to do an advanced search. Analyzing song lyrics, exploring historical contexts, and discussing social themes through music can deepen students’ understanding of academic content while fostering linguistic and cultural competence. TeachersFirst has a music appreciation collection for introducing students to the history and various genres of music. 

Introduce your students to songs with multilingual lyrics. LyricsTraining (reviewed here) is a versatile online platform that offers a wide range of benefits for multilingual students seeking to improve their language skills. Through an innovative combination of music, lyrics, and interactive exercises, LyricsTraining provides students with a unique and engaging learning experience. Read Part 1 and Part 2 of this post for a detailed overview of the platform. Let’s look at an overview of how LyricsTraining helps multilingual learners.

  • Listening Practice – Improve students’ listening skills by listening to songs in English on LyricsTraining. The platform provides an immersive experience where students can listen to native speakers pronounce words and phrases in various contexts.
  • Vocabulary Expansion – LyricsTraining offers an excellent opportunity for students to expand their vocabulary. By listening to songs and completing exercises, students can learn new words and phrases in context, making vocabulary acquisition more effective and engaging.
  • Pronunciation Improvement – Students can use LyricsTraining to practice pronunciation by listening to songs and repeating the lyrics. This helps students improve their pronunciation, intonation, and overall speaking skills in English.
  • Grammar Reinforcement – LyricsTraining provides opportunities for students to practice grammar in a fun and interactive way. Students can identify grammatical structures and patterns within song lyrics, helping them reinforce their understanding of English grammar rules.
  • Gamification – Learning English through music can motivate and engage students. LyricsTraining gamifies the language learning process, making it enjoyable for students to practice their English skills while listening to their favorite songs.

Embracing music as a powerful tool for language acquisition and cultural appreciation provides opportunities to empower our students to thrive in a diverse and interconnected world. The universal language of music cultivates an inclusive learning environment, and Music In Our Schools Month is a time to explore strategies and resources for your classroom for multilingual learners. We’d love to hear your strategies in the comments below!

About the author: Kevin Bower

Kevin Bower has 21 years of elementary teaching experience, is a certified reading specialist, and teaches instructional technology to pre-service and practicing teachers. He has presented nationally, had his teaching practices cited in various publications, and published a collaborative article on infusing technology into the balanced literacy classroom. Kevin’s research interests focus on using technology to best meet the needs of students with diverse abilities.

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