Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's Educational, but FUN

Shake, jump, stamp, and tap are only a few of fun things that kids enjoy.  My goal in the early childhood program is to make the children think that they are having fun and playing games.  They don't need to know that they are actually learning!  Many of the musical props that I use are aimed to do just that- instruments, scarves, beanbags, and canopies create such an exciting and fun environment that the students may not even know that they are learning important foundational music skills. (ie. fast and slow, soft and loud, marking a beat, echoing rhythms, number recognition, etc....)These are a few of the fun things we play with.

Rhythm instruments are key!  They allow a child to mark a beat along with favorite songs, and they give them experience experimenting with different sounds as well.  These can also be use to play more complex rhythms as the child progresses to higher stages of musical development.

Scarves are a great way to show expression through movement.  Different movements can be used for soft and loud, and they can learn to love the music that they are moving with.

Shaker eggs are great when the teacher would like everyone to use the same instrument.  In addition, the sound is light enough that it is easier to mark a beat as a group with these.

A canopy is yet another movement too that allows gross motor movements in time to music.  They can show expression, and they must work as a team to make the canopy work.

Homemade drums are a favorite.  Mine are still just recycled containers, but I plan on decorating them soon. Drums are great for marking beats, and they are key for learning basic rhythmical concepts and echos.

Bean bags are extremely versatile.  They are great for movement games, and they can teach, beat, rhythm, body part recognition, and more.  In addition they can be used for many music reading games as well.

Finally, the piano is always a part of my classes.  Children love to explore the piano, and in many cases the goal is to teach the children to play piano.  From the very youngest, they get time each class to explore and play the sounds on the piano.  The older children start using the piano to play rhythms, and they start to develop a five finger hand position.

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