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Teaching Music and Learning Styles

One of the many great things about music education is it reaches every learning style.  Teaching music and learning styles is something that goes hand in hand.  Music is a subject unlike any other and kids learn so much while in a music class, no matter what their particular learning style may be.  Music teachers are able to teach to each learning style, while maybe not even realizing they are doing it.  Here are ways the different learning styles are being taught in a music class each and every day.



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Visual (spatial)

In music, whether learning an instrument or in a class, students will read the rhythm and melody in their music, the words of a song, and anything else that is written in the form of instructions or a story.  What’s different about learning in music class is that when students are reading music, they are needing to visually read two or more things at the same time.  In music, there will be notes to count and read on a staff, the dynamics and tempo, and the lyrics.  Visual learners love to learn with bulletin boards or graphics and remember the pictures as they are learning.


Aural (auditory-musical)

This learning style is obviously used when teaching music.  Students in music class are constantly listening to their own singing voice or instrument as well as those around them.  They need to make sure they are in tune or are harmonizing on the correct pitch.  Aural learners love to learn songs in their other classes too, like a 50 states rap or math rap, and retain what they are learning so much better when taught like this.  For a free email course on how to integrate music with reading, math, science, and social studies, click here.


Verbal (linguistic)

There are students, we all know and love them, who just talk and talk.  These verbal learners love to echo sing, are the ones who want a speaking part in a program, and will be the loudest singers (even if they aren’t the best singers.)  Give these students opportunities to talk, express their opinions, and answer questions during a class period.


Physical (kinesthetic)

In music class, physical learners will love to play instruments and movement activities.  These are the students who may have a hard time sitting still and want to be in constant motion.  When you teach a folk dance, do movement with scarves or other dances, these kids will want to use their whole bodies.  Give these kids an instrument and they will not be able to resist shaking their maraca or playing on their drum.



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Logical (mathematical)

Mathematical learners love to learn about note values and to count rhythms.  They will enjoy learning about music theory including measures, bar lines, key and time signatures, note values, and everything else that falls under the music theory category.  These kids are deep thinkers and love to think about why something is done before they do it.  If you say to sing a song in 2/4 time, they will want an explanation about why you want them to do this and what exactly 2/4 time is.


Social (interpersonal)

Interpersonal learners love to learn in groups.  When doing a music game, activity, or dance, they will enjoy leading these activities.  They will love participating in a choir, orchestra, band, or other ensemble because they enjoy being a team player and working as part of a team.


Solitary (intrapersonal)

In contrast, intrapersonal learners love to work independently.  In music, these kids really enjoy taking private lessons and working on a solo.  They will also like participating in a solo competition or piano recital where they are performing alone.  In music class, these kids will enjoy quiet activities where they can do self guided learning.



How do you teach music to the different learning styles?  Did you realize kids got so much from learning music?


If you are a parent, student, or teacher who wants to learn more about music, connect with other musicians, or wants to post their latest videos of what they’ve been working on, I would love for you to join the Facebook group Music Education Connection. Collaborate, learn from each other, and grow new friendships. This is a place to receive encouragement, positive feedback, and to ask questions.



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Jessica Peresta

Music teacher and music education blogger who helps parents and teachers by providing online music education lessons for kids.

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