It starts at the Beginning

April 2013

Music is very often being promoted as some sort of “wonder oil” for other developmental areas like language. Let’s say there is indeed a wider benefit. Most early childhood music teachers will probably agree to this. We then have to look at how music classes might create this. (Leaving aside for the moment possible benefits of informal music activities at home.)

Nowadays young children have many challenges. Their worlds are often busy and full of noise, images and many excitements. This creates a challenge for an orderly music class. Should a music class be orderly? Yes, provided that the teacher creates a good balance between (musical) play, fun and concentrated learning.  Because the extra benefits of music can only then emerge if the musical growth is established through a well underpinned program and the preconditions are in place to promote musical growth. For example social skills like sharing and waiting for your turn are important and to be able to extend the attention span in order to concentrate on the musical activities. The teacher has a very important task in offering a diverse and motivational program that allows the children to regulate their attention and gives them plenty of different movement opportunities with or without objects.   Then the benefits of musical development can perhaps go beyond music itself. Nevertheless, I think that music should be the first objective. Creating the conditions to make the magic of music happen.