"Their [children] biological selves gravitate naturally and readily to full participation in music, and they are captivated by it" (169).
This quote stuck out for me this week as another good argument in support of music education. There does not seem to be another activity that children are so fully immersed in as music, and for that alone, music becomes a powerful tool for educators. Children, for example, don't sit on the playground and solve algebra problems--they dance around the playground singing and it is that natural involvement in music that, when harnessed by educators, can be used to make any lesson more entertaining and, from a child's point of view, more worth while. Early participation in music, throughout the elementary years, develops this natural tendency and is all the better for children in their secondary education.
More than just enjoyment, though, this natural gravitation to music has been noted by educators and within most curricula "there is usually a some articulation of the importance of developing children's expressive and artistic capacities" (181). While dance and creative writing can also expound upon this, music seems to be ideal because of its natural draw for children.
Music also has far reaching implications in an overall curriculum as it can serve so many functions, too. For example, between pages 176-177, Campbell creates a list of all the different functions that music can fulfill in a curriculum. "Emotional Expression" (175) is, in my opinion, a very important skill that needs to be developed by schools. According to Campbell, "Music's power to express raw emotions is not lost on children" (175). I feel that this is a very valid point and one can look to the classic example of a happy child singing a happy song. Encouragement of this form of expression can be used to expand upon it and have children express their emotions in other healthy (and socially acceptable) ways. "Communication", "Physical response", "...social norms", and "Integration of society" (176-177), these topics and others are all things that music can be used to teach children. The amount of cross-content lessons that can be taught with and through music are mind-boggling and encouragement of this natural attraction to music can really enhance the learning process.
With this in mind, the question changes from "why music?" to "why not music?". These quotes from this week make a very strong arguments, and encourage arguments that I had never before though of, in favor of its inclusion. I firmly believe that music deserves a place in any curriculum at the elementary level as it is such a powerful tool, how can teachers afford not to take advantage of it?
Campbell, Patricia. Songs in Their Heads: Music and Its Meaning in Children's Lives. New York, New York: Oxford UP, Inc., 1998.