Whenever I talk about being a music teacher of very young children, I always start with the "fun" of music class. I laugh and become very animated with descriptions of the wonderful ways that babies and toddlers make music, rocking to a beat, cooing on a certain pitch or discovering how to make sounds with a rhythm instrument.
Music class is immersion into sounds and rhythms. It’s what is known as experiential education. Young children hear their special caregiver singing and they feel the rhythms and vibrations in both of their bodies as they dance together. They see and hear other children and caregivers having fun with music.
There’s that word again. "Fun." But let’s substitute the word "Play" for fun...I always start with play in music class. It is seeing and hearing other children and caregivers playing with music...
Play is a child’s context for learning. Children practice and reinforce their learning in multiple ways during play. Play and learning go hand-in-hand. They are not separate activities, but intertwined. Play is a child’s work. And music is something that very young children love, they’ve been making sounds from the first moment of their birth so playing with music comes naturally.
Music play encompasses so much. It develops children’s innate musical abilities and gives them and their caregivers opportunities to learn together. It helps children learn to focus and builds pathways to academic success. It provides opportunities for developing physical coordination and beginning socialization. It allows each to “play” at their own skill level so it builds confidence and feeling good about oneself.
In music class there is much learning, friendships are made, and most everyone leaves with a smile on their faces.