Psychologist Howard Gardner developed the theory of multiple intelligences in the 1990s, in which he identified seven areas in which students best connect to and process information. One of those is musical intelligence, in which a student exhibits skills in composition and recognizing musical tones. Activities that promote listening skills and tie music to other lessons can enhance these students' learning experience.
Activities involving music should be interactive. Children need opportunities to create music, so allow them to explore with simple instruments, such as:
- or rhythm sticks.
Encourage exploration through activities, such as:
- Counting - Young students can learn about counting as they tap on a drum or patterns by creating rhythms with their instruments.
- Creating - Invite students to create their own instruments using materials from the classroom.
- Discussing - Children can learn about comparing and contrasting by discussing the sounds the instruments produce.
Teachers help develop listening skills by using music in the classroom. One way to increase this ability is by playing a listening bingo game.
- Students are given bingo cards filled with pictures of familiar objects or instruments.
- The teacher plays a recording of the sound each object or instrument makes and students listen to each sound.
- They cover the picture of the object making that sound on their bingo board as they hear it.
The first person to cover all of their pictures or to get five in a row wins the game.
Young children are naturally drawn to music, so it can be an important tool for teaching new skills.
- Language - Music can help develop language skills as students recite familiar words or learn new vocabulary.
- Concepts - Children learn about rhyming words by singing songs, and music can help students remember new concepts.
- Transition - Songs can help students transition from one activity to another and help children become familiar with a classroom routine.
- Movement - Adding movements to songs can also engage motor skills, further developing children's abilities to use music to express themselves.
Singing can be integrated into almost every subject area in a classroom to allow those with musical intelligence to learn best.
Writing Poetry or Songs
Children with musical intelligence seem to find and recognize patterns, rhythms and music in almost everything they hear.
- Connections - Teachers can help these students connect to lessons by asking them to create a poem or song for the topic they are studying.
- Retention - By putting the information to a rhythm, it will become more meaningful to students with musical intelligence and they will be more likely to remember it.
- Exploration - Ask students to explore different genres of music as they create their songs, such as rap, classical and rock.
Stacey Chaloux is an educator who has taught in both regular and special education early childhood classrooms, as well as served as a parent educator, teaching parents how to be their child's best first teacher. She has a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Missouri and a Master of Education from Graceland University.