I thought this set of readings was very interesting in the fact that speech in support of the inclusion of music into a curriculum comes straight from the children who are involved with it. The children that Ms. Campbell interviewed showed how music can be used for a multitude of developmental activities--from stimulating the imagination to becoming part of a natural sciences lesson.
"My puppets make music, when I tell them to. They need me to supply them with songs" (86). As George points out, music is stimulating his imagination when he is playing with his puppets. This development of the imagination through its use is very important for children and it seems as though the music is pushing that development. I found this quote particularly fascinating because, as Campbell had claimed through the course of the book, children play with music and this quote coming directly from a child validates that statement in that he is deliberately using music as part of an imaginary game with his puppets. Music in George's case, too, can also be seen as a motivational device as he "...really wants to make instruments [such as a flute and a slide whistle]" (89). Ramona is also inspired by music. As a second grader she said to Ms. Campbell, "Once, when i went to the bathroom last year, I went through the gym, and I saw some fifth graders playing sax. They played so pretty, that's when I knew that I would learn sax when I'm that old." (107). Again, music providing this inspiration is a very important element to have in a school as it will encourage children to succeed.
For the motivational and imagination development that music provides alone it should be included in every curriculum, however, as the next interview states, it can bring more to a curriculum. As Carrie says to the author in response to a simple question (do you like to sing?), "Yes. Because I like music in general, and because all of my friends sing with me..." (91). Not only is Carrie motivated by music (I like music in general), but it can be used to develop social skills (all of my friends sing with me). I feel that one of the primary purposes of an elementary school is to develop social skills with children and since music motivates children and builds their social skills, I feel that it is an ideal part of a curriculum.
Carrie also points out that her teacher is able to use music as a cross content lesson tool. As Carrie says in response to a song she just sang about spiders "We're studying spiders, and my teacher always likes to put a poem to a song" (92). This seems, to me, like an excellent use for music. The teacher will make up a poem about the lesson the children just had, and then will teach it to them in song. Because of their motivation to sing music (Carrie goes home and sings these songs to her family), the information in the lesson will stay with the students for a longer period as opposed to simply rote memorization of facts from a book.
I felt that this chapter was excellent as it, for lack of a better word, validated everything that Ms. Campbell had said previously. The children were telling the readers why they loved music and from that, it is very clear why music should be included in a curriculum--I feel, children think, and research has shown, that the advantages would be phenomenal.
Campbell, Patricia. Songs in Their Heads: Music and Its Meaning in Children's Lives. New York, New York: Oxford UP, Inc., 1998.