Posted on 04/25/2016 at 07:54 AM by Liz Determan

Ever watched a group of young children, infants or toddlers or preschoolers? The minute a tune starts to play those little ones start moving their bodies from head to toe! They seem to almost naturally begin to understand how to interpret the rhythms and beats that give them permission to “go”! But what benefit does music play in the lives of young children? We know that music allows children to explore the materials in order to create sounds and noise. This exploration allows children to begin to understand patterns and beat and ultimately gives them a chance to “build their own music” or compose music. What opportunities and materials are critical to musical exploration? Having a variety of tools, such as drums, bells, shakers, xylophones, etc. will allow children to process different kinds of music to organize in a pattern they can share with others. These materials can be purchased instruments, but even better would be to have a variety of items that a child could use to create their own instrument like a large plastic bottle with beans inside to shake or an empty ice cream bucket that can become a drum. Adults play a key role especially when they set up the classroom to provide time for children to explore and build their own music. 


What can a teacher or parent do?:

  • What are children interested in? How do they play with musical items?
  • Encourage children to explore and experiment with sound and how it becomes music?
  • Ask questions and talk about music. Use those musical words: rhythm, sound, beat, etc.
  • Have music literacy materials available to add additional information about music to the actions or discussions.
  • Have guest “speakers” introduce instruments and music to children allowing them to explore a variety of instruments or music.

(from Music Play: Creating Centers for Musical Play and Exploration, Kemple, K.M., Batey, J. J. & Nartle, L.C., 2004)

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