Whether it’s listening to music, singing or playing an instrument – music has a way of striking a chord (pun intended) in all of us! But, its role in early childhood development is especially beneficial.
Music introduces your preschoolers to new words and sound patterns, which help in a child’s listening and comprehension skills and ultimately supports early brain and language development.
Let’s discuss ways to facilitate a musical environment and what benefits are associated:
Schedule Time for Music Play
Make time for music play with your classroom – it could be a designated time each day or you could commit a larger chunk of time two to three times a week. And, you will want to be intentional with the curriculum. For example, begin each musical session singing the ABC’s with your classroom and then wrap up the session singing Old MacDonald. This approach will not only provide that consistency, but also teaches the children memorization. Or, maybe one of the children is having a birthday – gather up the room and sing Happy Birthday!
Get creative with the scheduled curriculum – you could use those designated times to feature cultures and music. Teach your preschoolers about the different types of music (and instruments) that are associated within cultures. This is a perfect opportunity to then introduce some of these instruments to the classroom, discuss the sounds they make and their origins to a specific culture. Go ahead and let the children take turns with the instruments, talk about how they integrate with singing (and dancing) and let them connect to the rhythm through tapping their toes and clapping their hands.
Set up a Music Corner
Besides the designated times for music play, set up an area or corner in the classroom, which houses musical instruments, games and activities and an overall space where the children could engage in musical play.
As a feature to the music corner – you could hang a chalkboard or whiteboard that displays music notes or the syllables noting the scale Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do. Include instruments such as, tone block, maracas, small drum, metal triangle, tambourine, recorder and a jingle stick. And, not to forget a CD player or device that allows you to play and share music with the class.
Maybe you need to build on your instrument inventory, so on one of your designated days for music play – have the classroom craft homemade musical instruments using simple items such as plastic ware, paper plates and cardboard tubes. These handmade instruments could also be put on display and of course made available to the class – it could be the beginning of the newest up and coming band!
Benefits of Music
Music is not only enjoyable, it offers many benefits to a little one’s brain development. Musical experiences engage a child’s senses and children make the strongest connections when they’re actively engaged in music, whether that’s singing, dancing or playing an instrument.
When a child is actively involved in music they typically do better in reading and math, are better able to focus, tend to play well with their peers and have a higher self-esteem. Besides the many benefits – music is soothing, engaging, interactive and above all FUN!
So, now what? Gather your class and SING… it’s good for their brain!