“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
While most people seem to agree that music education is of great importance and value to teaching a well-rounded child, school districts across the country are cutting music programs. Typically, it’s one of the first areas to go when budget cuts loom over schools.
At Christ Church Day School, we believe participating in music helps stimulate the brain in unique ways, which help children learn and grow. This activity in itself helps them academically, but when you infuse music into all aspects of learning, the benefits are exponential. That’s why we’ve made music education part of our curriculum and learning environment.
Twice a week, our music teacher teaches a half-hour class where students learn rhythm, music history (including lessons on classical composers), and songs that they will sing for chapel and around the flagpole daily. They also prepare pieces for the Christmas program and the Spring Sing in May. This year’s Spring Sing will include music from and around 1957 to celebrate the school’s 60th anniversary.
Music class is not limited to singing. Our kids love the hands-on opportunity to play music as well. Upper grades are taught to use recorders and large hand bells, and students use the smaller hand bells, which sound beautiful when ringing through the chapel.
Students who enjoy the performance aspect of singing can join the after-school choir club. This choir sings prepared pieces at chapel services on Tuesday’s communion service. In a very special opportunity last December, the choir sang at the Hotel del Coronado. At this holiday kickoff with Santa and tree decorating, the CCDS choir sang festive and meaningful holiday tunes as one of the choral groups invited from the community.
Drop in on CCDS any given day and you’ll hear music at some point. Around the flagpole we sing patriotic songs as well as more standard songs that are great for kids to learn and carry with them as they grow older.
Each classroom has their own ways they infuse music into their academic schedule. Older students like to listen to classical music on their earphones while they work, while the younger kids love to sing songs that help them learn things like the days of the week or practice their math skills.
During PE time, you might hear upbeat music during different activities, which really motivates the kids to participate and adds to their enjoyment of physical education.
As a learning community that promotes Christian ideals, we are able to reinforce important virtues and thoughts about religion with music. Virtues like compassion, honesty, and generosity can become more easily understood and meaningful when expressed through song. As we all have experienced, songs can stay with us for years to come, and the virtues our students learn through song will stay with them as well.
No matter what career path our students choose, they will leave our school with a strong foundation in, and exposure to, music. It has always been our mission to create life-long learners, and our diverse arts program of music, art, Spanish, PE, and spiritual nurture helps build the whole child, not just an academic child, giving them a wonderfully diverse start to their education.