Building Social-Emotional Skills in the Elementary Music Classroom

Emily Backus, Georgia College & State University


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the development of social skills in children, particularly among students who did not have access to in-person early childhood learning experiences (Pre-K and Kindergarten). Research has shown that general music classes provide unique opportunity to address the five core social-emotional learning (SEL) competencies. This project examines the impact of three research-based interventions (grounding rhythm stick loops, mindful movement, and partner hand-games) on positive and negative behaviors of first graders observed during music class. In addition, data is gathered from interviews with first grade teachers about the social skill trends they notice in their classes and what, if any, changes they see when their students return from music. The researcher saw increases in body awareness and increased participation from disruptive students when the interventions were implemented. Keywords: SEL, social-emotional learning, mindfulness, classroom management, COVID-19 impacts