"There is something completely elemental and life-affirming about getting people to sing together. Music helps us feel good. It connects us. It helps us remember who we are and what we can do." - Jacqueline Comito, Water Rocks! Program Director
Take a moment to think about the role music plays in your everyday life. Perhaps you listen to music while you're getting ready in the morning, on your drive to work, when exercising or cooking supper, or to unwind after a long day. For many, music has the ability to trigger emotional responses and alleviate stress. This awesome power of music also makes it an incredibly effective learning tool!
"Music was the earliest form of social media-voices in song carried over greater distances." - Jacqueline Comito
In his book, Music and Learning, Chris Brewer documents the multiple benefits of using music in an educational setting:
▪ increasing memory
▪ increasing focus and concentration
▪ enhancing imagination
▪ changing brain wave states
▪ developing rapport
▪ adding an element of fun
▪ facilitating a multisensory learning experience
Students and teachers that have participated in a Water Rocks! Assembly have the following to say:
“Interactive, music was very good, and upbeat presenters!” - Holy Trinity Elementary, West Point
“As a music lover, I appreciated your efforts to engage the students with music and movement.” - Gilbert Middle School
“I enjoyed the songs and ways to get students involved in the assembly.” - Lincoln Elementary School, Charles City
“Kids were engaged through songs and movement.” - Danville Elementary
Music also serves as an excellent mnemonic device. Jacqueline Comito, Water Rocks! Program Director, recalls a time in which a group of high school students made the connection between a WR! presentation and the conservation video series they had watched the week before:
Immediately a student shouted, "Hey, you wrote that song!" and he started to sing, "Don't treat Mother Earth like dirt; erosion, pollution, they hurt." We were amazed at the student's recall of the song, and asked how many times the class had watched the video. "Just once," was the students' reply. They heard the song "Don't Treat Mother Earth Like Dirt" once in a music video about stewardship, and they were singing it—reinforcing the power of music.
Water Rocks! knows that music is a powerful learning tool, which is why we have been incorporating songs into our programming since 2011. Throughout the years, WR!'s collection of songs and music videos has expanded to include over 50 original songs, covering topics like watersheds, wetlands, the water cycle, climate change, cover crops, bees, and even animal waste (poop)!
Jacqueline Comito shares, "It isn't hard to get inspiration for the songs. Nature is a wonderful muse."
The Water Rocks! team works together to create all of WR!’s original music. Their combined knowledge and talent help to create synergistic learning experiences for the youth that WR! programming serves. Their songs have been shared with thousands of students and teachers across the state at school assemblies and classroom visits, as well as via the WR! website and YouTube channel. WR!'s musical approach to conservation education has inspired schools like Jefferson Elementary in Des Moines to utilize WR! music both inside and outside their classrooms, spanning multiple subject areas.
You can easily incorporate Water Rocks! music into your classroom or outreach programming. The WR! website contains song lyrics and music videos with enhanced learning activities that are organized by age group and topic. Check out our resources, and be sure to keep us posted on how you are using WR! music in your classroom!