The Powerful Role of Music

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By: Angy Talbot (ECFE Blog Writer)

“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.” ~ Plato

Children benefit from being introduced to all different types of music. Music is all around us, in the home, and in society. There are many ways we incorporate music and movement into the Discovery classrooms. Whether listening to music from Raffi to classical, singing songs, playing instruments, or musical movement, music is incorporated and created daily in our environment. We teach the children how to sing a song. After practicing together, the children can sing the song as a class, and songs then can be used for transitioning from one activity to the next or in group or circle time. Children can also use their bodies as instruments by taping their feet, clapping their hands, and making different noises and sounds with their voices. Every classroom has various instruments that can be used individually during choice time and during circle time together as a group. Music is a tool we use throughout the day.

Music can play an important role in brain development. In the article, Why Music and Arts Education Is Important, Shari Black states, “According to a recent study done by neurologist Frank Wilson, when a musician plays he/she uses approximately 90 percent of the brain. Wilson could not find no other activity that uses the brain to this extent.” When a child plays a musical instrument or sings on a regular basis, it is exercising the entire brain while stimulating intelligence. Through singing and listening to music, children can learn new concepts. Singing helps children to understand meaning of words and repeating songs helps children to memorize phrases and strengthen memory.

Singing to your child is also an important element in music. Young children love to hear a calm singing voice while listening to patterns and recognizing the familiar sound of a caregiver’s tone. Each night before bedtime, I would rock my daughter to sleep while singing to her. I do not have the best singing voice, but she didn’t mind. I could see at an instant when I sang, she felt comforted and loved. As a toddler, we would sing nursery rhymes and children songs, which felt like all day long. In preschool, she would sing many songs in the Discovery classroom and repeat them in the car on our way home. Now that she is in elementary school, she still loves to sing. I can hear that sweet voice singing a tune while getting ready in the morning or when she is playing in her bedroom.

“Music plays a powerful role in the lives of young children. Through music, babies and toddlers can come to better understand themselves and their feelings, learn to decipher patterns and solve problems, and discover the world around them in rich, complex ways. Most important, sharing music experiences with the people they love makes very young children feel cherished and important.” (NAEYC). So don’t be shy and sing a song!

How do you integrate music with your children?

Below are a few websites on music:

Music and Your Baby

http://www.babycenter.com/0_music-and-your-baby-newborn-to-1-year_6548.bc

Learning of Music: The support of Brain Research

http://www.communityplaythings.com/resources/articles/musicandmovement/learningthroughmusic.html

Music and Movement – Instrumental in Language Development

http://www.earlychildhoodnews.com/earlychildhood/article_view.aspx?ArticleID=601

Music and Young Children

http://www.theparentreport.com/2012/06/music-and-young-children/

Top Ten List of Children’s Musical Artists

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By: Angy Talbot (ECFE Blog Writer and School Readiness Instructor)

In our early childhood classrooms we use music for transitions, circle time and group activities. As a parent, I often have music playing in our house and in the car. We dance and sing while we play and we work! As a preschool teacher, I am often asked about the various songs the children are singing in school. I have made a list of my top 10 favorite musical artists for children. Not only is this music entertaining to listen to, these songs help teach positive lessons and learning skills. There are many different children’s musical artists I am fond of, but these are my favorites.

1. The Okee Dokee Brothers: These Minnesota natives won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Children’s Album. The lyrics are clever and easy to sing to, entertaining folk style music.

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2. The Laurie Berkner Band: Laurie’s music is fun to sing along to with her clear crisp voice and catchy tunes.

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3. Go Fish: Their music is amusing and inspirational. My daughter still listens to these CD’s before bedtime.

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4. Dr. Jean: All teachers love Dr. Jean. Children can learn so much from her music! She doesn’t have the greatest singing voice, but the children don’t mind!

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5. Greg and Steve: They have lots of music that incorporates large motor movement and actions.

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6. Jack Hartmann: Jack’s music is educational with catchy tunes and rhythmic beats!

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7. Charlotte Diamond: Her music is lively and sing-able, inspiring children to care for each other and to celebrate diversity.

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8. Shari Sloane: Shari has been a kindergarten teacher here in Minnesota for over 25 years. Her songs are inspired by her teaching experiences in the classroom.

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9. Hap Palmer:  His music teaches learning skills while encouraging the use of the imagination. Rhythms on Parade has many songs you can use instruments with.

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10. Ella Jenkins: Her interactive music incorporates world cultures and the joy of music. Ella’s voice is truly mesmerizing.

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There are so many great songs and musicians for children. This is just a small list of music that I have used in my classroom and home over the past years.

What children’s musician is your favorite? What songs do your children like listening to?