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New Bedford Symphony Orchestra

Music in the Morning

Music in the Morning makes classical music a part of the daily life of children.

For five years, children begin every school day by listening to five minutes of classical music. The same passage is repeated for the whole week, but a different introductory narration is read each day that brings out a specific aspect of the music or provides some information about the composer. Students become familiar with the musical passage over the course of the week, often being able to hum along by the end of the week. They come to have favorite composers and pieces and are able to talk about the different forms and period styles of music. Most importantly, at this young age they discover that they like classical music, and that it is fun to listen to.

The curriculum for Music in the Morning is based on the Brummitt-Taylor Music Listening Program: A Non-Directed Approach, which is now used by more than 2,500 schools throughout the United States and Canada. The program introduces students to 30 composers, 131 pieces of music, and 400 years of music. The guiding principles of the program are (1) belief in the power of great music, (2) trust in the value of repeated listening, and (3) recognition of composers as a vital being, a creative person possessing skill and imagination.

To understand the non-directed approach utilized by the program, it is helpful to contrast it with the directed listening approach which refers to the in-depth study of an individual composition; students are guided by the teacher through a series of structured lessons through which they acquire a specific technical knowledge of the elements of music such as melody, form and harmony.

Because Music in the Morning is geared towards younger children, it uses a non-directed approach, which refers to the presentation of music to students in such a way that a teacher’s role is to show a genuine but informal interest in students’ responses—to appear non-prescriptive. The aim is to establish a familiarity with the music in a uniquely personal way for each child.

The results of this approach are truly amazing. Students develop favorite composers, pieces of music and instruments. They want to discuss which composers and music they like the most and why. In short, they develop opinions about classical music! It becomes a regular part of their lives and expands their artistic and creative horizon.

Teachers also utilize the Music in the Morning program as a bridge for a multi-disciplinary approach to the arts. Students use the inspiration of musical pieces for painting, drawing and other art projects. Connections are made between the music and relevant pieces of literature. The resulting arts synergy is exciting, stimulating and fun for children.

To bring this program into your school, please contact us.