Planting the Worm

Did you know that a snatch of song that cycles unceasingly in your head is called an “ear worm”?

As a teacher with a love for choral music, I endeavour to plant an appreciation for choral music into my students’ brains.  The challenge: I teach first grade.  Obviously, the music is above all but the prodigies at this age level and in some choral music they can’t even understand the words. Still, I try anyhow.

First, I sometimes play choral music softly as they do their seat work.  The white noise seems to help some of them focus and work quietly.  I know it wiggles there way into their subconsciousness.  Occasionally, they will inform me smuggly.  “I sing that song at church.”  I smile and say, “You’re right,” mentally adding, “not in that arrangement.”

So, a note to all composers out there who arrange well-known hymns.  Keep at it. Children are listening, and as a listener, I enjoy songs that I know well enough to absorb and meditate on as well.

This leads me to a theory.  Could it work the other way?  So, I take melodies from choral songs and teach them to my students.  As we read about Ezekiel’s prophecy in devotions, I teach them “Dem Bones,” excerpted from Larry Nickels arrangement.  Touching their toes, shin bones, etc., they build a happy memory. “Demma bones a, demma bones are gonna walk around!”

Psalm 1 is on our list to memorize this year and a newly-released choral arrangement of this will give us a melody to aid in memorization.  (I believe it’s by Douglas Byler, but I am not sure.)

I will continue to look for more ways to incorporate choral melodies into their education, planting an appreciation for quality music, one ear worm at a time.

Music Meets Math

3 Comments on “Planting the Worm

  1. A worm worth wiggling into little minds. How fortunate your students are! Congratulations on beginning a blog. Keep having fun with words and music. 🙂


  2. I love it!!! Not at all hard to picture you choreographing this beautifully with all your little students. The future will be blessed.


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