This week I stopped in to have a listen to the music teacher and his beginning band for a few moments. I was walking past the building on my way to my classroom when I heard the music coming from the room. I stepped in and Mr. Jones was working with about 30 students, all new to the music program.
There was a full array of instruments, clarinets, trumpets, trombones, flutes, percussion and even a base guitar player. The students were all listening intently as Mr. Jones walked them through playing and counting rhythms from a sheet of music. I always love watching a good teacher teach, especially a music teacher who has to have eyes and ears in every corner.
Even with that spread of kids and sounds, he knew what each student was doing and how they sounded. A music teacher’s ability to multi task is incredible.
Listening to the kids tap their feet, then count the quarter notes with their feet keeping pace made me think of the mechanics of rhythm and its marvelous relationship to Math. Music is so good for kids all around, but especially good for their math skills. While playing music that moves along pretty quickly, they have to decipher the quarter notes fractions, the eights, the sixteenths, the thirty-seconds, the sixty-fourths, and beyond. This has to be done mentally in a split second before the music moves beyond those notes. Eventually counting becomes second nature and you don’t have to think about the note values when you play, they just come.
I was happy to see one or two students in this class who have some discipline issues. I hope, and it often does, help them think about something valuable instead of being in trouble. Music not only teaches valuable academic, social, and art values, it fills time, valuable time.
Thank you to all the music teachers out there for providing our culture with music that will keep our society alive and grounded.