Woman playing violin

When children or adults sit down with their instruments to practice, they enjoy the educational and emotional benefits of music that can help them in ways that often go overlooked. Music education has a social-emotional learning aspect that also transcends to other areas of life.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

SEL is a worldwide concept, from in-classroom to online courses like https://www.useyourear.com/. The goal of SEL is to help people develop:

  • Self-control
  • Self-awareness
  • Interpersonal skills

When students of any kind, whether they’re studying science or music, learn strong social skills, they can bring these traits outside of the classroom. Overcoming everyday challenges is easier when SEL is the focal point of the curriculum.

SEL offers the foundation skills that allow kids and adults to excel in three main areas of life:

  • Socially with their friends, family, and teachers
  • Academically to help them maximize their education
  • Professionally to allow them to excel in their careers

Research into SEL shows that academic achievement rises 13% with SEL, and 79% of employers agree that these qualities are most important in a person’s career success.

The SEL concept includes five main competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Educators must adapt and adjust their learning process to incorporate SEL in a natural, organic manner.

Some of the ways that teachers are promoting SEL include:

  • Segmenting students into groups and allowing them to delegate tasks together
  • Teaching learners how to set goals and chart their progress, such as learning new chords or being able to interpret music at a higher level
  • Etc.

If teachers in any discipline find ways to incorporate SEL, it will create a safe environment for students to learn and prosper.

SEL and Music

Music education can help children develop social-emotional learning skills, which has been demonstrated through studies on music and learning.

Music educators can encourage the development of SEL skills in several ways:

  • Encourage students to set musical goals
  • Confront and overcome performance anxiety
  • Provide solutions for students or groups to correct errors on their own
  • Help students understand how music can be used to promote social change

Creating and playing music is a practice of self-expression, creativity, and leadership. Through music education, students can become more socially- and self-aware, which will help them face and overcome challenges later in life.

The development of SEL skills can be done through music. There’s no need to take time away from instruction. For example:

  • Have students conduct self-assessments of their performances. Taking this approach will encourage self-reflection and help students learn how to assess their abilities.
  • Use SEL-based prompts. For example, ask students: what musical goal do you have for this week? You can ask students other questions that encourage self-reflection, such as: what do you feel are your musical strengths and weaknesses?
  • Help students express their feelings to better articulate their emotions.

Through music education, students can develop SEL skills to help them face challenges more confidently. The goal is to create a space where students can express themselves openly and without judgment while helping amplify student voices for greater empowerment.

In Conclusion

Music education is evolving with new, exciting ways for teachers to help their students excel. SEL and music go together naturally, allowing teachers to help students express their feelings and emotions and perform self-assessments.

When students are more self-aware and driven by self-reflection, they’ll excel in music and their professional lives.

Teachers worldwide should work to incorporate social-emotional learning into their curriculum for learners of all ages.