Music and integration with other subjects

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Teaching music in a PYP school is a fun experience for the students and teachers. We are encouraged to integrate with other subjects. It takes process and learning for me to get the whole idea of it. As a music teacher, what I did was to teach songs which are related to the theme of the grades to the students. It’s easy now because you have YouTube, pinterest and other social media that has a lot of material for teaching the songs. At the same time, singing is also a fun way to learn something. It helps the students understand and memorize because it’s fun, it’s musical, and it rhymes.

As the time goes by I found that I can do more than just teach them the songs. I learned a lot from other teachers, books, common planning time or even just casual talk. We can also find a way to integrate through other things. The key concepts of the theme is one of the things that you can integrate because it’s the questions that you will ask when you learn a new concept. It can be applied to all the subjects.

Experience on integration.

I had a fun experience with the grade 3 students during “How the World Works” unit. During that unit they learned about materials. In music, I integrate by teaching them about timbre of the of the music instruments. Using the inquiry cycle, I asked the students to bring stuff from home that they think can produce sounds. So the music class turned into a workshop. They brought boxes, bottles and most of them mix the materials that they have to make a diy instruments. They learned that different materials that can produce different sounds.

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Performing the song using their materials

During the “How the World Works” unit with the grade 4 students they learned about systems. In my class, they learned how music is like a system through music notation. They learned how small parts work together for a bigger function, which is a lot like notes and rests are used in a music composition.

In PYP there are a lot of ways that music can be integrated into student inquiries. All you have to do is to be creative and open your mind with the idea that music is not only about singing. Asking around and attending collaborative meetings will help you to get ideas on how you can integrate. Always be curious about exciting learning activities that you can share to your students. Try to understand the unit as deeply as possible and don’t be afraid to try new things, even if they don’t seem to fit in at first. The PYP is a lot more fun when teachers are having fun, too.

Tamara Nilla

Music Teacher

Mentari School Jakarta

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