I had set out to chat with a few parents at interviews last week about their childrens involvement in music. We have a few boys who sit closer to the back and don't seem to be enjoying music or participating to their fullest. However, as soon as I mentioned music their mothers faces lit up! They shared how much their sons loved music and how they sang all of the songs that they learned at school...at home!
It made me think a lot about what it means to participate and be engaged as a musical learner. These children seemed disengaged and even sometimes as though they were not enjoying themselves. They were often hesitant to get up and sing/dance with us. However, they were taking in just as much if not more than the other children.
When I was away a couple of weeks ago working on my Action Research project, the children were chatting with another teacher about me being away. She explained that teachers are always learning too and sometimes they need to spend time away to do special learning. When she asked what they thought I might be learning, the children agreed that I was most certainly learning "new songs" for music.
Music is a powerful tool for learning and for children to make connections. We recently learned "Kookaburra", an old classic, and the children had some interesting conversations about what the Kookaburra may look like. One of the children brought in a book from their home with a picture to share with her peers.
It always amazes me that some days I would "forget my head" if it wasn't attached and this 4 year old children went home, remembered that she mentioned that she would bring a book with a Kookaburra picture, asked her mom, and packed it in her bag independently.
Through music comes so much learning:
-we have explored nursery rhymes
-we have made connections with letters/sounds
-we have counted forwards, backwards
-we have solved math problems
-we have learned about rhythm and beat
-we have expressed ourselves artistically
I could go on! I am so excited about how powerful music is as a teaching and learning tool in the classroom. I think the key to our success in music is learning new music daily, singing old favourites, and keeping it active.
Some teachers who have visited our room have asked for some of our favourites to be shared - below are some books with songs, CD's, and music programs that we incorporate into our music and movement program:
My student teacher uses a lot of music by this singer and the children love the movement aspect: http://www.pattyshuklakidsmusic.com/music/video/
We are always interested in new ideas and CD's that are engaging for children! Our next step in our room is to begin to explore in more depth beat/rhythm...hopefully with some instruments!