Why does our school attach so much importance to music? We interviewed Ms. Victoria Jericó, Music and violin teacher at Chester College. Her answers help us understand what happens in her classes (both outside and inside: in the bodies of each one of our children) and highlight the importance of musical education.
I: Music is an important pillar of the educational project of Chester College students. Why? Why is music important in a child's education?
V: Music is a great educational tool for developing multiple abilities in students, which will be useful both in their day-to-day lives as students, and in their future lives as adults and professionals.
Thanks to music, we can activate neural connections in both hemispheres of the brain. Music is a wonderful took to develop the student’s concentration and attention span, and their creativity and imagination, offering them a new way to communicate. Through music, we will develop psychomotricity as well as balance and spatial sense, through musical activities combined with rhythms and dance.
In addition to learning a new language with which to express our ideas and feelings, through music we can reinforce language learning through songs. On the other hand, we are also indirectly working our memory, as we learn new songs, new concepts, and new rhythms. In turn, this helps us improve auditory perception, since active listening is inherent to all musical activities.
Finally, we should not forget that engaging on musical activities with our classmates also helps us to socialise and to develop teamwork.
I: In practice, what space does music occupy in the school’s curriculum?
V: Music at Chester College is present in two ways. On the one hand, we have weekly music classes, for students of all grades, in which we learn and enjoy music through singing, dancing, listening and playing with rhythmic activities. And on the other hand, we have violin classes, which are introduced from Early Learning Education and up to Grade 6, during school hours (from Grade 7 onwards, instrumental sessions would be extracurricular, after school hours). In these violin classes, we continue to explore and share music, as we learn how to play an instrument as beautiful and demanding as the violin. It is also possible to have individual sessions of other instruments as an extracurricular activity.
I: And out of all the instruments: why did the school go for the violin?
V: Learning how to play a musical instrument has many benefits, among them the development of memory, concentration, discipline, and coordination stand out. The violin is a musical instrument that, given its characteristics, requires greater concentration, postural control, and coordination.
When we learn to play an instrument, we discover a new form of communication, which facilitates greater social interaction, especially when we can play in a group, as we do at school.
I: What methodology do you use?
V: Our classes are very dynamic; in them, we strive to get the students interested and engaged as we learn and actively participate in music. Most of our activities are focused on singing, listening, playing with the rhythm, and dancing.
Likewise, in our instrument classes we work on gradual objectives. First, we learn the songs via repetitive singing, so that the students become familiarised with them. Then, we incorporate the instrument to the song. The more you know the songs, the greater the motivation to practice. And it is practice, practice, and practice, which is ultimately behind the learning.
I: Thank you very much, Victoria!