Color and shape are two very noticeable attributes of the world around us. When you look out your window, you may not be saying it … but your mind is noticing and identifying the green trees, brown rectangle buildings, square windows, and blue sky. Color and shape are ways children observe and categorize what they see. These very recognizable characteristics encourage children to define and organize the diverse world around them. For this activity, we used rainbow ribbons, and the song Colors of the Wind (from Pocahontas) to talk about colors!
We also looked at a variety of bug pictures to describe the variations in color among the different critters. Students first played a memory game, where they were told to memorize a variety of disappearing items of same and differing colors. They than sang a song about the color yellow. Following this, they listened to the song Colors of the Wind as they danced around the room with rainbow streamers. After that, they looked at a variety of bug pictures. Lastly, they drew a picture of a rainbow! Developmentally appropriate music activities (such as music and movement) involve the whole child-the child’s desire for language, the body’s urge to move, the brain’s attention to patterns, the ear’s lead in initiating communication, the voice’s response to sounds, as well.
Running, jumping, throwing, climbing, and running – and all kinds of active play – are very important for young children’s development. Young children are not only strengthening their muscles and improving their coordination when they engage in physical play; every game and physical activity is a chance to learn concepts and to practice getting along with others. To incorporate these skills into our curriculum, we looked at it’s connection to music.
Music involves both the large and small muscles of the body. Music also includes a cognitive component that is significant to your child’s growing critical thinking skills. Incorporating and facilitating musical development through planned opportunities for play enables your little one to integrate these gross motor skills with their budding sense of melodic awareness (the cognitive component).
For this activity, one child would play one of three notes (C, D or E), while a second child would listen. Once they heard that tone, they discriminated between the three different notes. After their selection was chosen, they tossed a bean bag onto a musical staff with pre-drawn notes in red, orange, and yellow.
As a result of this activity, students were able to collaborate and work on positive social skills. Through listening, they were able to access their ability to process linguistic cues and body language, as they experienced the benefits of working together toward a common goal.
Instrumental music helps build important cognitive and motor skills which are just starting to develop in the young child. For example, left and right are concepts that are essential in life as well as the piano, and the keyboard is a fun way to demonstrate ideas like these (plus an endless array of other developmental tasks). Our piano classes are so fun, your little ones don’t even realize that they are learning!
During circle time, we incorporate a color-coded teaching method that uses color-coded notes on a traditional music staff to teach beginning piano to our students!
A color strip sits on the keys and guides the child to the correct key for each note.
This method of teaching preschool music allows children to begin playing piano as soon as they know their colors. To acquaint your little one with the various colors and their associated fingers, we matched and inserted color-coated golf tees into a styrofoam “hand”.
This reinforced that our thumb presses the red key, our index finger presses the orange, our middle finger presses the yellow key, the ring finger presses the green key, and the pinkie presses the blue key.
Piano could, and should be the starting point of the music education beginning from the age of two years old, because the piano is considered to be the ‘king’ of all instruments. Considering its advantages, we will continue to hone our musical skills on this most wonderful instrument.
The presence of music in young children’s lives can sometimes be taken for granted. In most early childhood classrooms, children and teachers sing a song or two at circle time. Parents often sing lullabies and traditional rhymes to their young children. Nevertheless, there is a growing awareness that music is underused and underaddressed in early childhood education. In the early years, musical aptitude is still developing. Infancy and early childhood are prime times to capitalize on children’s innate musical spontaneity, and to encourage their natural inclinations to sing, move, and play with sound.
When offered a variety of implements, children play with the different tones they hear. For this activity, we poured water into different containers. Some were made of glass; some of metal, and some were made of plastic. We also experimented with quantity. Some of our containers had only a small amount of water, while others were filled to the top. Using a metal spoon, they gently tapped each container. Our final component involved the fun and “messy” portion of our activity. Using turkey basters, spoons, small cups, and bowls, we mixed our colored water among the different containers. In addition to its musical advantages, this segment invited your child to experiment with math concepts such as more/less, same/different, empty/full, before/after, greater than/less than, and counting. By exploring and “messing around,” your budding musicians discovered that they can make one sound by hitting one container and a different sound while hitting another!
Musical dictation involves the ability to hear a piece of music and quickly play it back (on an instrument) or write down the notes of a melody. One of the main goals of ear training is to harness one’s power of visualization – being able to hear a phrase and immediately anticipate how it will look and feel on your instrument.
To begin building this musical skill, we started with very short fragments. Because we use a color system to play the notes on our pianos, we began with these tones and their associated colors. The notes included were C (red), D (orange), and E (yellow).
Each student was given red, orange, and yellow pom poms. They were then asked to hear a short phrase played by Miss Carrie, and then visualize what that phrase looked like in their head.
Using their pom poms, they placed their selections onto a musical staff. We then reviewed our answers as a class. Soon we were able to move on to longer, more complex phrases! As your little ones’ ability increases, they will be able to mentally practice and compose music on their own!
To initiate our rainforest endeavors, we first learned about what makes a rainforest a rainforest! There are two kinds of rainforests, and they are characterized by climate, the amount of rainfall they receive, and their location on our planet! Our focus centered upon the tropical rainforests of South America, but there are also temperate rainforests that are located in higher latitudinal regions. Because young children learn best by participating in their learning experiences, we created our own rain storm! Using drum sticks, cymbals, shakers, triangles, and tambourines, we recreated the different phases of a tropical rainstorm!