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Highlights of Musical Intelligence

  • Jun 10, 2010
  • Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard

Howard Gardner and Thomas Armstrong have recognized musical skill areas that can be developed and strengthened using music as a teaching tool.

Musical Children:

  • THINK via rhythms and melodies.
  • LOVE singing, whistling, humming, tapping feet and hands, listening.
  • NEED sing-along time, trips to concerts, music playing at home and school, and musical instruments.

Learning Spelling:
Spelling words can be sung. For example, a seven-letter word (or multiple of seven) can be sung to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, and any six-letter word can be sung to the tune of “Happy Birthday to You”.

Problem-solving:
Sensing the “rhythm” or “melody” of a problem (e.g. harmony vs. dissonance); using music to unlock problem-solving capacities (see Ostrander and Schroeder 1979).

Behavior Management:
Find musical selections that deal with the issue the student is facing. Provide music that reflects the appropriate behavior (e.g. calm music to soothe). Teach the student to “play” his favorite music when he feels out of control. Stop and Go with musical songs that actually Stop and Go-creating ways to develop impulse control.

Getting Student’s Attention:
Clap a short rhythmic phrase and have students clap back.

Individuals with disabilities but have strong Musical Intelligence:
•Learning Disability: Sergei Rachmaninoff
•Communicative Disorder: Maurice Ravel
•Behavioral Disorder: Robert Schumann
•Physical Disability: Itzhak Perlman
•Hearing Impaired: Ludwig van Beethoven
•Visually Impaired: Joaquin Rodrigo

These famous individuals demonstrated superior Musical Intelligence. Their musical ability continues to marvel audiences all over the world.

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