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The Harmonious Impact of Music in Early Education Classrooms



Unlocking the Potential of Music in Early Education

The preschool years mark a period where children naturally gravitate toward music. When we harness this innate connection through interactive music and movement activities, the developmental benefits are profound. In a conversation with Nick Young, early childhood music specialist, he stressed the significance of intentionally incorporating music into the curriculum, emphasizing how it enhances the classroom experience for both educators and students.


Academic Growth through Musical Engagement

Research has illuminated the incredible potential of integrating music into early childhood education, unveiling its profound effects on cognitive, emotional, and social development. Studies, like the one titled "Relations Among Musical Skills, Phonological Processing, and Early Reading Ability in Preschool Children," underline the strong correlation between musical aptitude and phonemic awareness. This linkage suggests that skills vital for music appreciation may intertwine with those essential for reading.


Another study, "Possible Effects of Early Childhood Music on Mathematical Achievement," found that children exposed to music at home outperformed their peers in mathematics. It highlighted two key activities associated with improved mathematical achievement: listening to personal music collections and enjoying family members' singing.





Structured Musical Activities: Engaging, Educational, and Fun

Music is not a throwaway activity: it's a pivotal component that can be intentionally woven into the daily curriculum. Nick exemplifies intentional music activities, showcasing directed and imaginative movement songs, rhythmic instrument play, and musical stories. These activities not only nurture musical skills but also foster pre-literacy abilities, rhythm recognition, and pattern identification.


Creating a Safe and Engaging Learning Environment

Effective classroom management during music sessions involves establishing a secure space where children can freely engage. Nick's approach, utilizing "invisible bubbles" and offering choices, ensures a harmonious and interactive atmosphere. Here are some classroom management tips that can elevate your music classes:

  • Set Clear Expectations

  • Utilize the "Invisible Bubble" Technique

  • Reinforce Positive Language and Behavior

  • Provide Options for Engagement

  • Manage Disruptions Casually

  • Offer Individualized Attention

  • Employ Consistent Nonverbal Cues

  • Maintain Momentum

  • Emphasize Enjoyment

Emotional Literacy Through Music: Building Foundations

Nick emphasizes the importance of emotional literacy by age five, stressing its profound impact on a child's future relationships, career, and personal development. Music and movement activities play a pivotal role in fostering emotional intelligence, offering an enjoyable platform for children to become literate in various emotions like happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, and disgust.


Empowering Educators and Parents

Integrating music and movement intentionally into the curriculum yields significant developmental benefits. While many classrooms incorporate music, Nick advocates for a deliberate approach to maximize its benefits. When selecting music and movement for education, specific criteria suggested by Nick include:


  1. Select Enjoyable Music for All: Choose music that's enjoyable for both children and adults. When in the car or at home, opt for tunes that are pleasant to listen to, creating an engaging experience for everyone involved.

  2. Interactive Movement Songs: Look for songs with clear instructions for movements. Directed movement songs should have explicit directions in the lyrics, allowing both adults and children to follow along easily.

  3. Imaginative Movement Songs: For songs encouraging imaginative movement (like crawling or hopping), ensure the song provides ample time for each movement. This allows children to fully engage in the action before transitioning to the next.

  4. Diversify Activities: Incorporate various activities into music sessions, such as instrument time with percussion, rhythm reading, and playful music note recognition. This variety keeps children engaged and facilitates learning through play.

  5. Play-Oriented Approach: Remember that children learn best through play. Make sure the activities are accessible and oriented towards playful engagement, fostering social and emotional development.

  6. Prioritize Emotional Literacy: Focus on nurturing emotional literacy alongside traditional academic skills. Help children recognize and understand emotions like happiness, sadness, anger, fear, surprise, and disgust through music and movement activities.

Closing Thoughts

Music provides a dynamic and engaging learning environment that not only aids in mastering math and reading but also nurtures creativity and critical thinking. By integrating music and movement into educational settings, teachers enrich the learning experience and foster holistic development in children, paving the way for a brighter educational future.




Connect and Explore

To listen to the full interview with Nick Young, go to The Brighter Side of Education podcast, Transformative Tunes: Shaping Early Learning with Music Specialist Nicholaus Young.


For those eager to delve deeper into early childhood music, exploreNick Young's curriculum and resources available at playmotionmusic.com and youngmusiccompany.com. Reach out, connect, and embark on this transformative journey of music and movement in early education.


References

Anvari SH, Trainor LJ, Woodside J, Levy BA. Relations among musical skills, phonological processing, and early reading ability in preschool children. J Exp Child Psychol. 2002 Oct;83(2):111-30. doi: 10.1016/s0022-0965(02)00124-8. PMID: 12408958.


Geoghegan, N., & Mitchelmore, M. (1996). Possible Effects of Early Childhood Music on Mathematical Achievement. Journal for Australian Research in Early Childhood Education, 1(Issue number), Page range 57-64. ERIC Number: ED406036.


Hassler, Lisa Dr., host. “Transformative Tunes: Shaping Early Learning with Music Specialist Nicholaus Young.” The Brighter Side of Education, 20 Nov. 2023. https://www.buzzsprout.com/2048018/14053458


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