Music Expression and the Importance of Critical Thinking Skills
Critical Thinking Skills are skills that help children and adults think critically. But who cares? Why are Critical Thinking Skills important? According to www.scholastic.com Critical Thinking Skills involve these 5 things:
- Asking open ended questions
- Categorization and Classification
- Working in groups
- Freedom to make the wrong decisions
- Finding patterns
Examples of Critical Thinking Skills in action are:
- Pattern Recognition
- Hand-eye coordination
- Problem solving
- Motor Skills
Have you ever thought about how you probably “make” your kids learn math because you consider math a critical skill? What if you were able to perceive learning music on the same level as math, and thereby make it mandatory for your kids? Such an approach as ours clearly demonstrates the benefits of making our system of learning a requirement for your kids. In the Natural Music ExpressionTM workbooks every lesson is designed to include some aspect of Critical Thinking:
- Motor Skills – students are required to press their fingers on the dots in the vivid hand positioning diagrams (fingers that are weak are easily found out and over time the muscles are strengthened through practice)
- Problem Solving – students must match specific consistent colors to their corresponding keys on the piano (the same fingers are not always used, depending on the context)
- Hand Eye Coordination – students practice a “Paint it, Press it, Play it” approach (they first color in the fingers and keys in the workbook, press the fingers and keys in the work book, then attempt to play for real what they already have accomplished in their imagination)
- Pattern Recognition – students learn a consistent way that the 12 colors are attributed to the 12 piano keys (becoming familiar with the consistency allows for patterns to be easily recognized - for example, patterns that represent happy and sad sounds).
You may now begin to see that our system of teaching invokes a literal way to enhance skills that are critical, crucial to your children’s development. But we only advocate doing this after you embrace the loving tone which fuels how to implement it toward fostering their development as a human being. Development as an individual human entails all these aspects of Critical Thinking Skills:
- Being asked open ended questions
- Experiencing the freedom to fail
- Can categorize and classify their own thoughts
- Learning to work in groups
- Discovering and creating consistent patterns
As a Natural Music Expression grandparent, parent, guardian, or music teacher you have a mutual mission with us: Create an environment that is conducive to nurturing critical thinking skills.
The paradox of teaching critical thinking skills is that they are not taught in a critical way. Yes, you read that right! In order to be able to learn critical thinking, you must actually be non-judged. There is a double benefit of claiming our method of music learning as part of your children’s upbringing: you will automatically be putting yourself in a better position to become a more effective parent, while also teaching fun music creation. I truly believe that in order to embrace a non-critical stance toward supporting your child’s development process you must also accept non-judgment toward yourself. And I will help you with this right now.
If you have made it so far to this part of the article it means that you most likely resonate with the mission, motivation, impact, and legacy we endeavor to impart to the world. You have valued your own future enough to invest your time into understanding how to make your own children’s lives better by opening your mind to the possibility that our approach could be a right fit for you. But because you may have experienced a lot of criticism, harsh words, or undesirable circumstances growing up, you may subconsciously find it extremely difficult to practice a non-critical supportive role of your child’s progress.
Many of you are highly blessed though, having been raised in a loving atmosphere, or embraced your own way of thinking that allowed you to experience bold breakthroughs of acceptance toward yourself. Regardless of your upbringing you are at the threshold experiencing a new kind of joy and freedom you may not have thought possible. Leading by example may be the only and best way to efficiently impart critical thinking skills. Therefore, we highly encourage you to do the lessons with your children and that our teachers inspire parents with this expectation. Think intensely on how logical the above statement is. If you do not lead by example it means you are sending mixed messages, one message that is said and another that is never role modeled.
- When we say things of great expectations for children to do and do not demonstrate the expectation clearly then the children have to guess what to do.
- Guessing what to do could be ok on some occasions but does not insure that they build confidence.
- They will always feel inadequate when having to guess.
- Any reprimand will further dig the hole of inadequacy much deeper.
Society, you, myself; we are already assaulted with all kinds of messages intended to make us feel inadequate. We don’t need this. Our children don’t need this - especially when it can be prevented. So, together, let's impact the future generations with Critical Thinking Skills that will help them make loving educated decisions for the rest of their lives.