May 24, 2012
Striking a chord: Music education symposium, June 18-21, focuses on how students learn through music
What sparks students to learn through music is the focus of this year's Kansas State University Music Symposium, June 18-21, in Manhattan.
Music educators of all levels -- from general music and instrumental teachers to vocal/choral teachers -- can enhance their teaching based on current research in how the brain reacts to music.
Jana Fallin, a professor of music education and distinguished teaching scholar at Kansas State University, says researchers are finding that music sparks the brain in many different areas, sometimes affecting the brain in more areas than any other curricular subject.
"We are beginning to know so much about how the brain works due to advanced technology with brain scanning," Fallin said. "We know that the brain has to turn on in order to learn. Music does this turning on for our thinking and learning."
Now in its 24th year, the Music Symposium has featured national experts in music education, performance, history, pedagogy, ethnomusicology and curriculum development. This year's speaker, Richard Edwards, coordinator of music education at Ohio Wesleyan University, is known nationally for neuromusical research.
"He's created an extensive database of research studies and is able to explain how the brain functions and what music does to the brain in very understandable ways," Fallin said.
Additional speaker sessions cover teaching strategies, use of technology in the classroom and the latest music available for use in the music classroom. The symposium also will include performances from public school groups and regional artists, dance and creative movement sessions and the chance to network with music education professionals from all across Kansas.
Last fall, the symposium received a regional award from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association for being an innovative noncredit program serving educators in rural areas.
"To be successful today, students must be able to think of many answers, many solutions to problems. Music education does this," Fallin said. "It teaches creativity and critical thinking skills. It teaches the whole person."