Sylvie Desouches
  • Sylvie Desouches

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Music Training May Reduce Anxiety & Focus Attention

A new study conducted by psychiatrists at the University of Vermont College of Medicine has found that playing a musical instrument may help children overcome anxiety, focus attention and control emotions. Follow link below, or copy and paste into a new browser tab:


Music practice influenced cortical thickness related to ‘executive functioning, including working memory, attention control, as well as organisation and planning for the future’. In children with musical backgrounds the brain was affected ‘in areas that play a critical role in inhibitory control, as well as aspects of emotion processing’.

5th Grade Music (from Curriculum Evening Packet)

What is done in 5th Grade Music Class this year to meet my child’s development?
Fifth graders are in a year blessed with harmony in their bodies and emotional life. Beauty, grace and balance now characterize their movement and striving, including in music.

In music:

  • Move into singing part music, building to 3-parts by end of year.
  • Continued work on the recorder, new notes and additional scales; build toward 2- and 3- part music.
  • Continued instruction in music literacy – focus on harmony (intervals; major vs minor; hearing modulation), ancient Greek modes.
  • Continued work on musical skills from previous year. Beginning melodic dictation.
  • Music relating to curriculum: music from ancient India, Persia, Egypt and Greece; folk music from across North America, including Mexico and Canada.

What will my child achieve in music class by the end of the school year?

  • Improved skill on the recorder (clear tone, rhythms, different keys, sight reading).
  • Improved skill in being a sensitive, active listener.
  • Capable of learning and retaining one’s part in 2- and 3- part music.
  • Able to discern major vs minor.
  • Improved skills in music literacy and sight reading.

What are things that we can do at home to help support this work?
Overall, make music a part of your home/family life by:

  • Sing with your child.
  • Taking your child to classical music concerts (and not always the ones geared for children). Mozart in particular; chamber vocal ensembles and/or period instruments doing Renaissance, Baroque through late 18th century music (pre-Beethoven).
  • (Note: Recorded music does not have the same beneficial effect as listening to live music. Brain research now shows sympathetic response when watching and hearing live music.)
  • Continue to assist your child in keeping a regular rhythm of practicing every day.
  • Take an active interest in the private lesson and be sure to be an advocate for your child as needed.
  • Be a model by finding something to work on regularly every day to improve your skill.

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Why do we teach music?

We teach music to:

  • Develop fine human beings who are active listeners, flexible and patient, and who understand that working in the world takes effort, perseverance and a refinement of skills. Learning to play a musical instrument, learning to read music, listening carefully to tune…all of these require practice, focus and commitment – acts of will.
  • Bring an experience of truth, beauty and goodness through music-making.
  • Experience the dynamics of working within a group of peers with differing abilities in order to produce something meaningful that is larger than oneself, that requires the efforts of the entire group to achieve.
  • Help build intellectual and emotional skills, facilitate children’s learning and strengthen other academic areas, such as reading and math.