As we recently introduced a weekly music program at Islington Village, we thought we’d include and introduce some background information about music and its capacity to fosters all domains of children's skills. Creativity tends to define colouring, painting, and drawing. However, in the early learning context it actually includes all types of expression.
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 energetic personalities. Music has a great influence on the character and aura of the classroom as well, as we use quieter calming music to relax and tone down extremely busy play.
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.
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, which is outlined as a cognitive skill for all age groups.
However, many children will not participate in singing activities, either due to cultural influences or innate personality traits; cueing immediate thoughts of those more shy children in the classroom or at home. Rather than simply singing, it is important to apply all areas of expression, for example using instruments and rhythm, for those that are not interested in singing.
Instrumental experiences include more than social skills, also involving more fine and gross motor movement, in some cases, and coordination, outlined as a physical skill. Music is a vital part of children’s lives, and when they can make music themselves, it is immensely satisfying for them, emotionally gratifying as well. Rhythm instrument activities are a wonderful way to share the joy and excitement of music with young children.
Some varying ways to include and experience rhythm music and expression using shakers:
(turn on a cd of instrumental music with a steady beat. Have the children copy you as you play the shaker in different ways)
• Tap shaker into the palm of your other hand
• Hold shaker upside down and shake
• “Rub” shaker on the floor
• Shake high in the air
• Rub shaker on arm
• Hold shaker horizontally in both hands and shake
• Shake “out and in” – hold arm straight out in front, then bring it back in
• Make circles in the air with the shaker
• Shake up and down
• Shake side to side
• Shake shaker behind your back
• Rub shaker on your tummy
• Gently tap shaker on your shoe