It has been unquestionably documented that those lazy summer months result in an unfortunate effect known as Summer Learning Loss. The name is fairly self-explanatory: Every summer, our students lose some of the knowledge they gained over the previous school year. This happens in mathematics and reading for all students, though evidence suggests reading losses are greater for students who come from lower income homes.
Summer is a great time to relax, recharge, prepare for the coming year (mentally and emotionally), and to just enjoy being a kid. That there is a tradeoff to what is often no more than three months of extended playtime is not surprising.
What if there was an incredibly simple way to keep our students’ brains active and engaged during the long videogames-and-summersports months? The answer should come as little surprise - it’s music! Let’s think about this discussion in terms of math/reading and analytical/emotional aspects.
The magic lies in how much interdisciplinary and cross-functionality music requires of our brains:
There are countless symbols to interpret (that sure sounds like reading), not to mention the fact that there are almost always written instructions on the page that have a very direct impact on the performance of the music.
All musical symbols are placed in very specific spatial relations to each other, and often invoke mathematical concepts. There are time signatures and beats and subdivisions (think fractions and counting), which may require anything from simple addition to analyzing subdivisions of subdivisions (how long do we play 5 notes that are supposed to take the time that 4 notes usually do? What if we then have to play 3 of those notes as a triplet over 2 of the 5??).
To our analytical/emotional brains, we can look at an entire piece of music, and ALL of the symbols combine to create one cohesive work. These need to be analyzed and performed together at precisely the right time, in precisely the right way. And yet, this needs to be done in such a way that the student not only feels the music personally, but works to convey those emotions - through the performance - to the audience.
This analysis does not even touch on the mental-to-physical connections and coordination required to perform an instrument at its fullest potential!
Music has a wealth of material to mull over - more than enough to occupy our students’ brains for a lifetime. There is no reason why we couldn’t use music to help alleviate a little Summer Learning Loss, too!Set up your Summer Music Lessons Today! The Music Momma