Today, while we battle massive uncertainty around the world, the landscape of learning looks very different. We can't predict what workplace culture or opportunities will look like even months from now, never mind the next few decades. However, we can always be sure that we will always benefit from having well-rounded and empathetic global citizens taking charge. That's where the role of music comes in.
It is a misconception that music education should be exclusively for students who want to pursue it as a career path. Music is an important tool that helps children build 21st century skills like teamwork and communication, and it is an especially great way to bridge many of the gaps created by online schooling.
If you're an educator, here are three important reasons why you should make music a strong part of the curriculum:
1. It helps build community: With online schooling, children are missing out on social and community development (in the form of breaks, group projects, and play time). Music helps bridge this gap. Virtual musical activities (in the form of rhythm games and sing-along sessions) give students a chance to bond.
2. It boosts performance in school:Around the world, music has been shown to boost academic performance in children across age groups. Here at SaPa in Schools, we've seen children from our partner schools do better in reading and overall confidence. Additionally, principals have reported a spike in attendance after music was introduced.
3. It encourages children to be self-started:According to the founding managing director of Berklee ICE (Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship), there are many deep links between music and entrepreneurship. "Learning how to play a musical instrument and becoming a musician," he says, "is an exercise in developing good listening skills, experimenting, overcoming repeated failure, self-discipline, and successful collaboration." These are also important qualities that entrepreneurs should build. Introducing music, in any form, is a great way to encourage children to be perseverant self-starters - no matter what career path they decide to pursue.
We co-founded the SaPa in Schools program in 2014, to make quality music education accessible to every child. To us, music is much more than a feel-good element. It is a transformative tool, and we are on a path to take its benefits to the world.
We all love music. But when we process music in a more mindful way, it has an impact on our overall levels of stress, productivity, and motivation.
We have been working towards creating an ecosystem for music education in India, and have enjoyed working in collaboration with the Norwegian Academy of Music - one of Europe's most prestigious conservatories built by the Government of Norway. The SaPa in Schools team of educators, musicians, and administrators have built a curriculum that includes: (a) elements of Indian and global music, (b) a global music component that teaches children new languages and songs from around the world, and (c) a Music and the World Around component that helps students explore the connection between music and "real-world" topics like mathematics and physics.
SaPa in Schools is compatible with all educational boards, and provides textbooks, audio material, and comprehensive teacher training. Currently, the program works with over 30,000 students across India. SaPa in Schools has also partnered with the Akshaya Patra Foundation to reach out to over 8,000 children from 17 government and non-government schools completely free of cost.
We are fortunate to work with a talented and passionate team of music educators. We conduct regular training and certification sessions each year, and ensure that every educator is well-versed in the SaPa Methodology. SaPa in Schools has always strived to create employment opportunities for women re-entering the workforce, young artists looking to sustain a living while pursuing their passion, and anyone looking to transition into a full-time musical career.
The authors are Bindu Subramaniam and Ambi Subramaniam - Co-Founders, SaPa.