How online music delivers social-emotional support

Music teachers should have students respond to, connect to and create music, expert says
By: | June 23, 2020
To boost social-emotional learning, teachers can let students explore more diverse styles of music and examine the historic environments in which that music was made.(GettyImages/Jose Luis Pelaez Inc)To boost social-emotional learning, teachers can let students explore more diverse styles of music and examine the historic environments in which that music was made.(GettyImages/Jose Luis Pelaez Inc)

Music can play a major role in helping students cope with school closures and other coronavirus disruptions, says professor Scott N. Edgar, director of bands and music education chair at Lake Forest College outside Chicago.

“The social web our students cling to has been ripped away from them and it’s our job to keep them as connected as possible,” Edgar says. “We have to continue to make art very personal for students to help build the skills to encounter trauma and isolation.”

Music teachers should instead focus on having students respond to, connect to and create music.

“This is going to require offering many more opportunities for students to have voice and choice in the artistic process,” Edgar says. “They will take a more active role in creating their own work.”


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This shift should include allowing students to explore more diverse styles of music and examine the historic environments in which that music was made.

“If we can widen our perspectives and allow students to have more ownership of their own artistic education, this is an opportunity for students to receive more personalized education when we get back,” Edgar says. “Teachers are going to have students who are insanely motivated to come together and make art again.”

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