Music bridges West Bank, Italy and France

20 Feb

Dear readers, friends, fellow music educators and students,

We are a group of wonderful and enthusiastic music educators that work as teachers at Al-Kamandjati in Ramallah teaching music appreciation classes in Palestinian refugee camps.  The project we are working on, “Music bridges West Bank, Italy and France” has been implemented by the Terre Des Hommes Foundation and aims to provide music awareness and educational access to thousands of children from the Jalazone, Qalandia and Ammari camps.  We are currently teaching a total of forty one-hour long music classes per week at both the boys and girls UNRWA schools for grades 1 through 3.

Learning music  helps children cultivate many skills that they can use throughout their entire adult life.  Researchers have found a significant relationship between music education and positive performances[1] in reading comprehension, spelling, math[2], listening skills, primary mental abilities (verbal, perceptual, numeric, spatial), social skills[3] and motor skills.

Up to date structured music education has rarely entered the Palestinian refugee camps and children have never had the possibility of studying it or enjoying it in an attentive way.

Through this blog, we hope to share our work and our experiences with the children in the camps, as well as our teaching methodologies and tool kit that we will be developing throughout the upcoming months.

We have also begun workshops with the UNRWA teachers at Ammari camp so that they may begin to utilize music in the classroom to help with critical thinking skills in other subjects.  More to come on that, pictures and video in the upcoming week!

Looking forward to sharing and discussing with all of you dear readers and followers, friends and peers and students,

Donia


[1] According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, at Brown University, “Music instruction can help build intellectual and emotional skills, facilitate learning and strengthen other academic areas”

[2] “When children learn rhythm, they are learning ratios, fractions and proportions” Professor Gordon Shaw, University of California, Irvine;

Many students learn math facts faster when they can use mnemonics, rhymes, and songs. Students love to create their own memory rhymes and songs, which allows them to personalize math facts”. Karen Thompson, Instructional Technology Facilitator, Springfield School District 186, Springfield, IL

[3] “Children who take part in music develop higher levels of social cohesion and understanding of themselves and others, and the emotional aspect of musical activities seems to be beneficial for developing social skills like empathy,” Dr. Alexandra Lamont, Lecturer in the Psychology of Music at the University of Keele

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