Music in Class: A Whole Body Approach with Singing

by Kyla Mast

Music is a powerful teaching tool because it involves the entire person: body and mind, sense and soul. In this video, Kyla encourages teachers to harness the pedagogical power of singing by making it a central part of their curriculum and classroom culture. As students sing Bible verses, math facts, or the countries of Western Europe, they internalize knowledge in their bodies as well as their minds—which is not only more effective but also more fun!

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For the sheet music and audio recordings mentioned in the video, see this series:

Canticles Divine Volume 1, Psalm 119

Read transcript

Music is a whole lot more than just singing and learning notes and all of that. It is more of a whole body experience, and it involves thinking and internalizing and just creativity in general. And so I’ve just learned a lot more about how to be creative and try new things with songs and try to help my students come to that place where they can be creative.

And singing doesn’t need to be just a boring exercise. It can be something they can make up. It can be something they can do, not just in singing time or in music class; it can be done in history class. It could be done in math class, if necessary, or when you’re walking down the hall.

I just want it to be a kind of exercise where they can feel free to sing, and it doesn’t need to be an embarrassing sort of thing or anything like that. It’s something to do, or that’s something that should come easily and naturally. And so that’s something I’ve learned through this curriculum. It’s just to think out of the box and sing out of the box.

I stole the idea from another school. We have been already singing for many years, singing about memory. And what I did in years past is that I made up songs to find verses, and it was causing a lack of sleep and sorts of things like that. And so I knew that wasn’t sustainable, so I have been looking or wishing for just either a curriculum or some sort of just a Bible, a bunch of Bible verses set to music that had already been made by other people. And so I did find something like that. It’s a little booklet of portions from Psalm 119. I think it’s the full chapter of Psalm 119, just in little eight verse sections. And it’s a little booklet that is you can copy it and you can also copy the CD that accompanies it. It was put together by—I don’t remember for sure who it was that put it together—but it is very handy to be able to stick it in the player, and play the song for them, and then once they’ve learned it, they can sing it on their own. The booklet has music with it. It is just put to sheet music, and so it’s just very simple to get that out every morning and to sing. It doesn’t take any extra work for me. And so that’s very, very nice. It’s a good way to remember Bible verses. It’s just to sing them. It seems like it sticks a lot longer than if they just recited.

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CONTRIBUTOR: Kyla Mast

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