Martha Hall Bowman

Musical life lessons and other products

Text Box: Dear elementary school principal,
What if children could learn how to handle unkindness with kindness and compassion? What if they could learn how to rise above bullying? What if children could learn to be happy about who they are, without worrying about mean things others say?

I know we all want this for children. In my convocation, Musical Life Lessons, I weave these kinds of lessons into stories and songs, teaching children valuable lessons about themselves and others, while helping them learn to prevent bullying. 

A little more about me, in addition to what you will read below: I worked as a school-based counselor in the Richmond Community Schools for two years. I did up to 12 musical guidance lessons a week while I worked for two elementary schools. Currently, I work in a mental health center in New Castle. 

Also, my first children’s book has just been released!  I’m excited to add the title of “children’s book author” my list of credentials! If you want to book me for a convocation or for classroom guidance lessons, let me know.

Please read my introduction below, and let me know if you have any questions. Feel free to forward this to your principal and/or other teaches who might be interested. 
All the best,

My name Martha Hall Bowman, and I am a singer/songwriter, mental health counselor, music-therapist-in-training and children’s book author who is currently booking schools for musical character education convocations. Please take a few minutes to read below the information about me, and let me know when you'd like to book me.  
The purpose of my musical convocations is to help elementary children build skills that will prevent bullying in the schools. 
As we all know, bullying has been a problem in our American schools for some time. Initiatives have been in place to reduce bullying. They may be working, but much more work needs to be done! 
What we need is a combination of accountability, awareness, music and education to help children make wise choices and become more compassionate and caring people. In combining educational information with music and counseling, I will be introducing this new and cutting edge program to help school-aged children cope with and eliminate bullying. 

According to the Indiana Department of Education, the consequences of bullying are far reaching, ranging from lower attendance and student achievement to increased incidence of violence and juvenile crime. Children who bully are more likely to become violent adults, while victims of bullying often suffer from anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression well into adulthood (Banks, 2000, National Resource Center for Safe Schools, 1999). Even students who are not directly involved in bullying are affected: Children and teens who regularly witness bullying at school suffer from a less secure learning environment, the fear that the bully may target them next, and the knowledge that teachers and other adults are either unable or unwilling to control bullies’ behavior (USDOE, 1998). 

What are the psychological and financial costs of bullying and violence to the victims and ultimately to the nation? 
Kids who are bullied are five times more likely to be depressed than other kids, and also far more likely to be suicidal. ("Bullying Prevention Is Crime Prevention," Fight Crime: Invest in Kids) 
Sixty percent of boys classified as bullies in Grades 6 - 9 were convicted of at least one crime by age 24; 40 percent of them had three or more convictions by 24. (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids) 
For each bully prevented from adopting a life of crime, the nation could save between $1.7 million and $2.3 million. (Vanderbilt University study, 1998) 
Approximately 160,000 students miss school every day across the country due to the fear of attack or intimidation by a bully. (Fried & Fried, 1996) 

Perhaps the most striking research to date has linked the effect of severe and repeated bullying to serious acts of violence. The research conducted by the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Department of Education examined 37 incidents of targeted school shootings and attacks which led to 10 key findings, one of which was that: 
"…most of the attackers felt persecuted, bullied, threatened, attacked, or injured by others prior to the incident." 

The May 2002 Safe School Initiative final report concluded that, "The prevalence of bullying found in this and other recent studies should strongly support ongoing efforts to reduce bullying in American schools." 

Music is a powerful part of life, and yet music gets turned off when we go to work or school. The intentional use of music in the school can set the scene and learning atmosphere to enhance our teaching and learning activities. Plus, using music for learning makes the process much more fun and interesting! Music, one of the joys of life, can be one of the joys of learning as well. 
Music helps children learn because it will 
establish a positive learning state
create a desired atmosphere
build a sense of anticipation
energize learning activities
change brain wave states
focus concentration
increase attention
improve memory
facilitate a multisensory learning experience
release tension
enhance imagination
align groups
develop rapport
provide inspiration and motivation
add an element of fun
accentuate theme-oriented units

More needs to be done to help children cope with bullying. If someone wanted to truly start at the beginning, it would be clear that we need to start with the youngest citizens: pre-school and elementary children. 

As children start school, they are entering into a whole new world: a world of fascinating things, new ideas, and a social circle that expands as they get older. However, if a child comes to school and is picked on, it doesn’t take long for that student to start a downward circle into misery. 

If children can learn to cope with teasing before it becomes bullying, we could be able to eliminate bullying altogether! Children who do not "take the bait" as very small children will not be targets for bullies throughout their lives. If all children can learn to react in ways that do not reward the bullying behavior, the bullying acts will decrease and eventually stop, because there will be no reward. 

This seems like a daunting task, but if we work on one classroom or grade level at a time, we would be able to help children learn to cope better, learn new skills and become better friends with each other. 

Musical Life Lessons are positive, fun, energetic songs that teach valuable life lessons. Along with the songs, I will be teaching children through reading a book about a character lesson, and then the children will learn the songs that reiterate and implant the idea in their impressionable minds. 

For example, tattling is a big problem in elementary schools, especially in the younger grades. I interactively share information on tattling, and then teach the children a song, both of which will help the children know the difference between tattling and reporting, and further, it helps them live this valuable lesson day to day. When children learn not to tattle, they learn to be better friends. When they learn the importance of reporting, they help in eliminating bullying, plus they keep their peers safer and happier. 

Another important example of Musical Life Lessons is learning how to handle put-downs and insults. After another interactive lesson, including a story about a youngster who learned to handle put-downs, we would learn the song to go along with it. When a student has learned practical, easy ways to diffuse a situation, he or she also learns to diffuse a potential bullying situation. 

For example, a young student has been called a name by another student. The victim has hurt feelings. The other student automatically gets more power for having "caused" this kind of reaction in his victim. Therefore the taunting will continue and likely become worse. Oftentimes, the "bully" will also engage his or her peers to "gang up" on the victim. The bullying cycle begins and continues, based largely on the reaction of the victim. 
When the victim learns to not be a victim, the latter part of this cycle is broken. It can prevent bullying before it even starts. 
As stated on a previous page, research shows that music helps people learn. By incorporating this valuable piece into this character program, I will be teaching children how to build character, be more caring, and be more resilient, and it will be fun, energetic and memorable, as well! 
The cost of Musical Life Lessons can be broken down into several segments. The program can be put on in individual classrooms or it can be presented as a convocation for several classes or even several grade levels. 
Classroom lessons: $75 for each 45-minute lesson per classroom. Maximum 30 students 
Grade level lessons (up to five classrooms of one grade level at once; can be presented in a library, gymnasium or cafeteria): $300 for a 55-minute lesson 
Multi-level lessons (gymnasium or cafeteria presentations for K-2, 3-5, 6th): $550 per group per 1-hour lesson. 

For more information, please call me at 765-524-4149. I look forward to hearing back from you! 

Martha Hall Bowman, M.A., 
Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Music Therapist-in-Training, Publisher, Singer/Songwriter, Photographer

A Proposal: Musical Life Lessons:

Practical, Fun and Useful Convocations