Because each child learns in a different way, music is taught using all of the senses. Through moving, speaking, singing, listening, playing simple instruments, and exploring reading and writing music, the child experiences music as a process that becomes incorporated into their lives and, as many scientific studies have shown, has more far-reaching results than just learning to read or respond to music. A variety of music activities is included that will not only allow them to explore music, but will also help them build self-confidence, curiosity, self-expression, listening skills and self-control. The curriculum is geared not for performance, but as a means to explore the world of music in a structured but flexible way and at the child’s own pace. An assortment of musical activities is used to promote language development, symbolic thinking, coordination, and social interactions, as well as cultivating the child’s rich imagination. Ideas from the teachings of Orff, Kodaly, Laban, and Swears are used. Music concepts to be explored include high/low, fast/slow, loud/quiet, long/short, and musical timbres. Each age group will have an opportunity to experiment with these concepts through a variety of experiences so that each child may take from the classes what they are ready to incorporate into their own lives.
Each of the music concepts will be experienced through songs, chants, finger plays, free movement, structured group circle games and dances, and playing simple rhythm instruments: bells, sticks, shakers, and drums. Songs in minor keys, unusual modes and diverse rhythm will prepare the child to be open to the folk tunes of many different cultures. Repetition and internalization of the songs through clapping, waving, and tapping along get the child in tune with the basic steady beat that is the core of existence and balance. Listening activities will include isolation of sounds on tape and classroom demonstration of instruments.
Pre-Primary, 3 –5 year olds
To incorporate the expressive imagination of this age, these children will experience the music concepts through creative movement to recorded music as well as through songs and synchronized activities. Vocal development is nurtured with activities that help differentiate between the singing, speaking, whispering and calling voice, as well as imitation games to explore vocal range and timbre. Movement will include body awareness and space exploration games. More complex songs will allow them to utilize their increased language skills. Instruments will be used to illustrate the music concepts and to tell simple sound stories. Auditory discrimination will be used to respond to drum signals for walking, running, tiptoeing, stopping, etc. To some extent, the music activities will also reinforce some traditional preschool concepts such as color, counting, classifying and pattering.
These children will continue to explore the music concepts with increased focus on skill development. Songs on sol-mi will introduce intervals later used in reading and writing music. Echo patterns using the ta-ti-ti rhythm language will also enhance their music reading skill. Movement utilizes the music concepts to further an understanding of the body’s abilities to express quick/light, heavy/strong, etc. Fine motor abilities and hand-eye coordination will be nurtured through the playing of recorders and barred instruments (both hands together and then alternating hands, when ready). These instruments will also be used in the introduction to music reading and to accompany singing.