Music and Movement

Kayla playing xylophone.Young children are exposed to musical sounds in their home environments every day. A child may have windup musical toys and crib mobiles that play lullabies. Birds chirp and squirrels chatter outside the window. Radio and television play musical commercial messages. Theme music is part of television programs. Music is everywhere, from the grocery store and shopping mall to the doctor's office. Music helps children develop listening, discriminating, and expressive skills. It can facilitate skill development in many areas, but this should not be the only reason to have music as a part of the early childhood curriculum. "Nurturing music skills should be considered essential in early childhood simply because of the richness it brings to one's life" (Feierabend, 1990, p. 27). This section begins with outcomes of a music and movement curriculum. Key concepts and ways to introduce young children to these concepts are discussed. Sample music and movement activities are found at the end of this chapter. Children first show their awareness of and respond to musical sounds by holding still and concentrating or by turning their heads to the source of the sound.

Music and movement tend to go hand-in-hand. Some children wiggle their toes or tap their feet while others will move their heads, and still others move their entire bodies to the music. Children experience more enjoyment with music and action songs as they gain more discrimination, coordination, listening, attending, and communication skills. McDonald and Simons (1989) have identified seven outcomes for an early childhood music curriculum. These outcomes include: listening, singing tunefully, moving expressively, playing classroom instruments, developing age-appropriate musical concepts, creating self-satisfying music, and respecting and valuing music as a part of everyday life. Other sections in this chapter include Feel the Beat, Listen to Rhythms, Experience Tempo, Pitch, Dynamics, and Timbre, Try These Ideas in the Classroom, and Sample Activities.

Updated 9/11/02.