The Miracle of Music in the Classroom

By Kristin Clark Taylor, sponsored by QuaverMusic


Developing social and emotional skills can lead to huge benefits for students, teachers, families, and the larger community. I got the chance to ask one of our Quaver teachers how she integrates social and emotional learning into the music classroom. Read her story below!

It’s no secret that students experience big emotions. Sometimes, they may not have a way or a word to express how they are feeling. When your students know how to express themselves, it can make a world of difference in your classroom.

When NAfME member Alicia Anderle’s students file into her classroom, she’s prepared to teach them far more than just music. Using innovative teaching techniques that expand far beyond the musical note, Anderle, an elementary music teacher in Doniphan Elementary in Doniphan, Missouri, will help her students delve into their emotions, too.

miracle of music

Alicia Anderle, Doniphan Elementary, Doniphan, Missouri


At such a young age, she says, “Many of my students just aren’t able to identify their emotions as they’re feeling them. This is why we focus not just on the music, but on how they’re feeling, too.”

With the rising tide of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) sweeping the nation in school districts large and small, Anderle is poised at the top of the wave. She strongly believes that being able to get (and stay) in touch with your emotions is a vital life skill that is most effectively taught at a young age.

Her ultimate mission, she says, is to not only teach music, but, “to use music as a tool to help her students better understand each other, better understand me, and better understand themselves. That is my goal.”

To achieve this goal, Anderle, who’s been teaching for four years, has turned to colorful, creative, cutting-edge technology, using a new SEL-infused music curriculum created by QuaverMusic. QuaverMusic’s new product (QSEL) uses the power of music-based learning to engage students and reinforce social and emotional development.

Anderle, who uses the Quaver curriculum as an innovative way to engage her students, can customize to her liking, and display on her classroom screen any of these interactive music lessons that she likes.

emotions | Agustinc


“One of our favorite songs,” she says with enthusiasm, “is the ‘Happy’ song, which gives labels to a variety of different emotions and shows different facial expressions to match those emotions.”

Another favorite is “How I’m Feeling Today.” With this lesson, the students use the weather to help identify their emotions. Set to lively tunes, this musical lesson “really lets my young ones pick up on the differences between being happy and sad.”

When they see how a cloudy day turns into a bright, sunny day, it helps them identify not only the emotions themselves but the change in emotions.

When it comes to creative ways to teach Social and Emotional Learning, Anderle uses herself as something of a teaching tool, too. “Teachers are taught not to display their emotions in class; to leave their troubles at home and show a bright face to the students,” she says.

But this forward-looking teacher rejects this notion.

“If I’m having an issue and have the opportunity to express even a little snippet of my emotions, it might help my students identify their emotions, too.”

“Music helps support the development of a child’s social and emotional growth.”

QuaverMusic curriculum resources teach not only the fundamentals of music, but the miracles that can occur when students are taught to identify, express, and manage their emotions.

Anderle agrees that music helps support the development of a child’s social and emotional growth–and she is proud to use not only Quaver resources to achieve that goal, but to use herself as a teaching tool. To teach emotion, you must show it, she believes.

“Teachers are not robots,” she says with emotion.


About the author:

social-emotional learningKristin Clark Taylor is a senior consultant with QuaverMusic. She is an award-winning author and editor, veteran journalist, nationally-recognized communications strategist and a former White House advisor. She is a founding member of USA Today’s original creation and launch team, where she worked as an editorial writer and editor. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Washington Times, and many other publications. She is also a huge advocate for arts education and frequently attends American for the Arts events.

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The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides a number of forums for the sharing of information and opinion, including blogs and postings on our website, articles and columns in our magazines and journals, and postings to our Amplify member portal. Unless specifically noted, the views expressed in these media do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Association, its officers, or its employees.

Catherina Hurlburt, Marketing Communications Manager. April 18, 2019. © National Association for Music Education (

April 2024 Teaching Music

Published Date

April 18, 2019


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April 18, 2019. © National Association for Music Education (

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