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Early Music Education for Young Children: A Rationale!

A RATIONALE FOR EARLY MUSIC 

If you need a reason to bring the fun of music to children...



                       All photos by Jeri-Jo Idarius (from Carolyn's Magical Movement Company Archive)


I FOUND THIS FABULOUS "TED TALKS" VIDEO that gives us teachers of young children a great 'RATIONALE' FOR MUSIC EDUCATION IN THE PRESCHOOL CLASSROOM. 
After presenting a fun-filled Music Workshop to Montessori teachers on Saturday, I got "jazzed" once again about the wonderful (and endless!) benefits of musical experiences for young children. 
I think my very enthusiastic participants in the Saturday Workshop already greatly enjoy music with children, however, all of us struggle with explaining our reasons to include music in the various areas of the Preschool curriculum. 


In the first few minutes of the video, Anita Collins shows a wonderful little animation that concisely demonstrates how early music experiences improve the COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT in children (enhancing "executive function" of the brain). Great REASON for INCORPORATING MUSIC IN EVERYTHING WE PRESENT TO OUR LITTLE ONES! 





I love this little activity (below) for children featuring the concepts of  "Piano" (a term for quiet in music) and "Forte" (a term for loud in music) in the form of a game called "The Conductor." 


After experiences with moving to quiet music (tiptoe) and LOUD music (stomping), the children can sit for a moment and listen to selections of quiet and LOUD music (the first minute of Beethoven's Fifth is a great one!) 



Then, I show the children the "signs" (or 'symbols') for quiet and loud in music and of course, give them the names: Piano and Forte, which they love to say in a quiet voice (piano) and a loud voice (forte). 



Next, I show the children a picture of an orchestra with the conductor very visible, (download from Google or purchase from a music supplier like West Music)  and point out the conductor and give them this name, too. They can repeat this word while you point to the conductor and explain that this is the person who is the "leader of the band" and shows the musicians HOW to play the music they are playing together. 



I start with the children choosing a favorite song (Twinkle, Twinkle is always a great one) and I tell them I will be the conductor and they are to watch the sign that I show and sing accordingly...Here's a great time to review: Ask the children (while holding up the Forte sign), "Would you sing quietly or LOUDLY?..." Then, (while holding up the Piano sign), "Would you sing LOUDLY again, or quietly?"


Now it's time to sing. This is the really fun part, as I show one of the cards and listen to the wonderful singing of the children who now are recognizing which way they should be singing. After the first part of the song, I change the sign and I am always delighted to hear the children change the volume of their voices! 
Later, a child can be "the conductor." 



When "the conductor" holds up the card with the symbol for piano (I call it a "fancy P" when introducing it to the children), the other children sing in a quiet voice. Likewise with the Forte card, singing LOUDLY.

Later, this game can be played with the children playing rhythm instruments. Rhythm sticks (my all-time favorite) are great for this activity. Show the children to play the instruments loudly by tapping them together and then quietly by rubbing them together.
How's that for MUSIC FUN along with READING! not to mention learning MUSIC NOTATION! 



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