by Judy Mullican
Did you know that the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) celebrates Music in Our Schools Month each March? This year marks the 30th anniversary of the celebration, which became a monthly event in March of 1985.
Young children are naturally drawn to music, so try to offer many musical activities on a daily basis. Here are some musical activities your group may enjoy.
Listening: Play many different types of music throughout the day. For example, play multicultural children’s music, action songs, classical music, jazz, folk songs, bluegrass, lullabies, and more! Did you know there are many great choices available free from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)? Visit families.naeyc.org/songs/archive to find a wide variety of music. Children can listen for pleasure, but can also listen to learn about music. Help them notice sounds that are high/low, fast/slow, soft/loud, and so forth. Talk about how the music makes them feel.
Singing: Children usually love to sing! Sing with them often. If you use FunShine Express® curriculum materials, you’ll find many songs in your Teacher’s Guide and on the 2014–2015 Music and Movement CD. Children never seem to tire of old favorites like “The Itsy, Bitsy Spider,” “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” or “Old MacDonald.” You can even make up simple songs about things you are doing together. The songs don’t even have to rhyme. Encourage the children to make up their own songs too.
Moving to Music: Encourage the children to bounce, clap, march, dance, or respond to music by moving in their own creative ways. Preschoolers can even learn some basic dance steps.
Playing Music: Explore ways to create rhythms and melodies with simple instruments. Children can tap rhythms with cardboard tubes or on homemade drums. Use a xylophone or keyboard to create tunes with preschoolers. Help them create different types of homemade instruments.
In addition to your daily music activities, you may want to add some special music events in March to celebrate Music in Our Schools month. Here are a few ideas:
- Attend a local musical performance.
- Invite high school band members to demonstrate how their instruments are played.
- Perform a short concert of the children’s favorite songs and invite their families to attend.
- Visit a local senior center or nursing home and have a sing along.
- Let children sign up to bring a favorite musical selection to share with the group.
- Find out if any of the children have family members who will visit and sing or play music.
Have a great time enjoying music with your group in March and throughout the year.