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Elementary students benefit from music
Music programs provide benefits for students
Posted on 01/10/2018
Music programs provide benefits for students

The kindergartners sat quietly in a circle waiting for the music to begin. Only three weeks into the school year, yet they knew exactly what was coming, what was expected of them, and how much fun it was going to be.

There was a farm displayed on the screen on the wall and soon Old MacDonald began to play.

That’s when the kindergartners stood up and began to sing. Many felt the rhythm and moved in time while respectfully remaining in their place in the circle.

Next came the cow bell and mallet. As the music played they took turns playing the bell then passing it to the student sitting next to them.

music classroomOn another day, fourth graders worked in sync to play barred instruments.

During a recent visit to Woodland Elementary music teacher Jill Burch’s classes, two things became clear — her students truly enjoy participating in a music class and the instruction is well organized.

Nearly 11,000 Puyallup elementary students in grades K-6 attend general music classes two times a week. All elementary schools also offer a chorus program, usually before or after school. Fifth and sixth grade students can choose to attend band or orchestra classes with an instructor at a junior high school prior to the start of the elementary school day.

Music programs are mainly funded with voter approved levy dollars. Puyallup schools are well known for high quality music opportunities for students.

Burch, who has been an elementary music teacher for 30 years, said young children are naturally drawn to music because of the inherent joyful nature of singing, playing, and moving. “My belief is that the more musical opportunities children have throughout their elementary years, the happier they seem to be overall, and the more motivated they are to attend school each day if they know music will be a part of their day,” she says.

Many research studies performed over the years have consistently shown that children’s brains function at a higher level when they have regularly studied music. According to an article on the PBSparents website, music also helps with language development and improved test scores.

“Basically, music is good for the soul AND the brain!”

Woodland Elementary music teacher Jill Burch