As an early childhood professional, you’re well aware of the seemingly insatiable need of children to express themselves by making noise – a lot of noise! Rhythm instruments provide a uniquely effective way to respect and satisfy this need, while gently guiding young children toward expressing themselves musically.
Music is a natural outlet for creativity and self-expression. The sheer joy of making music in a group promotes socialization and a wonderful feeling of belonging. It can bring shy children out of their shells and calm more boisterous personalities. Music can stimulate slower learners and help attention-challenged children focus. For many of us, singing is the most natural way to express ourselves musically. However, many children will not participate in singing activities, either due to cultural influences (some cultures encourage more singing than others) or innate personality traits (such as shyness). Singing often occurs in the context of learning a song, which involves listening, remembering words, understanding words, pronouncing words, remembering, and singing a tune – and coordinating all these skills in a very short period of time. This is quite a challenge for many, if not most, preschoolers.
In contrast, rhythm instrument activities are so easy! Most playing consists of simply copying one motion at a time. There’s nothing to memorize, but because it involves the body in keeping a beat and feeling rhythm, children participate fully. And children love to play rhythm instruments!