The Elements of Music: Little Kids' & Music Notation!


Our music classes are zooming along this time of year, and the little children are not only singing in-tune, but they are also keeping a steady pulse in the rhythms we practice, such as "Ta- Ti-ti Toe"...

That is music-speak for:   q     h
Or: Quarter note, Eighth note-eighth note, Half.......note!

And, since the eighth notes are half the value of the quarter note, they must be chanted together quickly to equal the time it takes to say "Ta" and then since the half note is equal to 2 quarter notes, it must be chanted as a drawn out that it is equal to the time it would take to say "Ta" twice. And, this is all done in unison in a group and with much expression! There's some interesting, yet subtle, mathematical principles in there!

Even the very youngest children are beginning to echo these rhythms correctly and they keep a perfect beat! It's a delight to hear a large group of twenty-four  3, 4, & 5 yr olds reciting the rhythms in unison and with much enthusiasm!

However, when one of the teachers came to me with some papers her 5 yr old daughter wrote during "work time" in the Montessori classroom, I was way beyond delighted! 

Take a look:

We've decided she is our Little Ms Mozart!

It reminded me of a 4 yr old student I had years ago who loved to write music everyday in our Preschool classroom. I would always provide music staff paper in the Art area of our classroom because I regard doing Art as a "Pre-language" activity for young children. 

Writing music on large lined staff paper is a great combination of:
  • drawing 
  • writing on the lines 
  • connecting characters...
  • and even coloring in!
That child is practicing skills required not only for writing, but also for reading...and of course, music composition! 

This young 4 yr old composer would write and write and write his music notes and then...HE WOULD sing THE MUSIC TO ME!

It gets even better...he would also be sure every day to take his worn and "heavily-printed-upon" paper home to his mom so she could play his composition on their piano! 

Another 4 yr old brought me his lovely rendition of a violin when we happened to be studying the instrument family of Strings. 
Take a look:
This paper construction was particularly amazing since the child made the "strings" by cutting lines in the middle of the paper! And, you can see the bow on the left side and even the tiny "bridge" to the right!

And a few weeks later he came up with this artistic "flute" when we were studying the Woodwind family of instruments:

I am convinced, as I get older and older, that children can develop just about all the academic skills they need for success in school (and life!) through THE ARTS. Who can we find that will put more money towards the arts instead of towards nuclear weapons?!

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