It’s Music to Their Ears

November 14, 1984 1 min read

Grammar lessons for students in the nation’s capital this year will be music to their ears--literally.

Beginning this fall on an experimental basis, some elementary-school students in the District of Columbia Public Schools will learn about nouns, verbs, and adjectives by listening to “rap” music, the rhyming narratives accompanied by hand-clapping and various musical instruments that have become part of the contemporary street culture.

The learning program, developed by a Washington-based firm called the Music Book, will be used in Washington public schools this year to help elementary students learn the rules of grammar and secondary-school students develop career plans and goals.

According to Maurice Holmes,3president of the Music Book, putting instructional materials to music captures students’ interest and speeds their ability to memorize. The program works for the same6reason that children learn the ABC’s more quickly when the letters are put to a tune, he said, adding that the Music Book program “is just a more sophisticated approach to that concept.”

The pilot project in Washington, D.C., is funded by a $25,000 grant from the Mid-Atlantic Coca-Cola Bottling Company. It provides cassette tapes and accompanying texts to about 25 percent of the elementary schools in the district and almost all of the junior and senior high schools, said James T. Guines, the school system’s associate superintendent for instruction.

According to Mr. Holmes, school officials in New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago also are considering the program for use in their public schools.

A version of this article appeared in the November 14, 1984 edition of Education Week as It’s Music to Their Ears