Immersing students in music stimulates the parts of the brain associated with academic achievement, such as reading and math, and emotional development. Instead of viewing music as an extracurricular activity, CCISD considers it a regular part of the education process.
Martin Walker Elementary music teacher, April-Dawn Weimer, took it a step further and added art to her music classes. She began by teaching the song “Music and Me,” along with some choreography. Students then enjoyed creating a collage to go along with the song. They chose what music means to them or why they love music.
“This art project in music can be applied to real life,” Weimer said. “This project helps encourage students to be creative and to think on a deeper level about how they feel about something. It also gives them a voice about a specific topic.”
According to Americans for the Arts, students involved in the arts have tremendous academic benefits compared to students without exposure to the arts. Art inspires kids to excel in and out of the classroom. It helps students stay in school, increases motivation, improves attitudes and attendance, and improves academic performance.
Students including fifth grader Brandon Bielecki enjoyed seeing not only what he and his partner created, but what other students created also.
“I liked it because I could do it with a friend to help and it made me to realize I enjoy collages and music class even more,” Bielecki said.
The Music and Me collages covered several Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills by involving students singing a song with accurate rhythm and intonation independently and in groups. This allowed them to be creative while showing correct understanding of what the song meant to them, how they love music or how music makes them feel.
Fourth grader Stella Feliciano found the lesson to be an emotional outlet.
“I liked doing the activity because it was a way to express my feelings,” Feliciano said.
Children’s brains develop faster with music, particularly in areas associated with language acquisition and reading skills, according to a 2016 study at the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute.
For young children, making arts provides opportunities for language development. Toddlers learn words for colors and shapes as they create art.
Immersion in art and music can foster a sense of cultural awareness in kids. As students interpret visual imagery from artists and learn about art history, it helps them understand the concept of cultural diversity, said Weimer.
“Seeing a different culture explored through a visual medium such as these collages helps kids process information differently than reading about it in a textbook,” Weimer said.