Music Education: Fostering Students’ Love of Learning at KIPP Indy Unite Elementary

At KIPP Indy Public Schools, we believe in providing all of our students with a well-rounded education. This means not just focusing on academics, but providing holistic, diverse student offerings that give students the opportunity to engage in new things and spark new interests. This year, we have increased student opportunities and are now offering even more college visits, field lessons, sports, clubs, and enrichment classes. In fact, for the first time ever, students at KIPP Indy Unite Elementary have access to music class. Music combined with art, physical education, and dance classes ensures our students are participating in robust enrichment opportunities built directly into the school day; fostering a love of learning and joy.

Music education, in particular, has immense benefits for children. It can help support listening skills, boost innovative and creative thinking, and has even been shown to improve graduation rates. At Unite Elementary, we have seen that the addition of music class has increased students’ engagement and love of learning, not just in music class, but across all parts of the school day.

For one fourth-grade student at Unite Elementary, music class fuels her passion for singing and performing, but has also heightened her focus in other classes. Raelyn is a student in the ‘Columbia University’ homeroom and has attended KIPP Indy since kindergarten. While Raelyn has always had a passion for music, specifically singing, she has never had a formal music class. Her family was incredibly excited to learn that Unite Elementary would be expanding their enrichment offerings to add music class and that Raelyn would have the opportunity to further develop her talents. One of Raelyn’s favorite things about music is how many different types there are: classical, hip hop, rap, and rock. Her favorite activity from music class so far has been watching a video and discussing the similarities and differences between classical and hip-hop music in terms of their instruments, singing, and performance. Her fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Replogle, says, ”Raelyn’s focus in class has been noticeably different this year. I believe it’s because she finally has an outlet for her love of singing.” Listen to Raelyn sing her favorite song by Fall Out Boy here.

In addition to fueling students’ passions and love of learning, music study has been shown to foster children’s character strengths that are important for holistic development and overall well-being. These benefits of music education directly align with Unite Elementary’s commitment to prepare students with the skills and confidence to pursue the paths they choose in life. Watch 3rd grade students from Butler University as they demonstrate their core values of teamwork and joy when singing “Music Brings Us All Together”.

Mr. Watkins, Unite Elementary’s music teacher, also uses music to cultivate joy into other parts of the school day. For instance, he leads a song at weekly grade-wide assemblies. During this time, each homeroom from a grade level comes together to celebrate each other’s achievements. Listen to  Kindergarten’s KIPP song!