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What should early (preschool) music education consist of?

(48 Posts)
fillyjonk Sun 03-Jun-07 07:28:54

i don't want the dc not to develop an appreciation of music but am hugely underwelmed by mcdonalized monkey muzak. Also, tbh, because I have 2 kids close in age but in different groups, I can't really go, it won't work, have tried.

are there any guidelines anyone has, any suggested songs, etc?

I don't want to hothouse, but music IS important to me and we seem to be letting it slide a bit.

i know that is vague, i am not sure how to ask for what i'm after really.

fillyjonk Sun 03-Jun-07 07:29:45

a bit of a structured program i think

god i sound pushy

my kids can't read or anything, i promise

Nbg Sun 03-Jun-07 07:31:21

What do you listen to?

FrannyandZooey Sun 03-Jun-07 07:36:03

is there nothing else nearby except MM?

Kindermusik is quite good for instance

fillyjonk Sun 03-Jun-07 07:36:46

most things

fair bit of classical/choral/opera though.

fillyjonk Sun 03-Jun-07 07:37:22

is it?

last time i checked-no, a 1 1/2 hour drive away, whih seems excessive

why are they good?

Nbg Sun 03-Jun-07 07:41:14

I took dd to Kindermusik and that was very good.
In fact, well over a year since we stopped going and she still listens to the CD we got with the classes.

Lots of variations of music.

I do find though that just listening to your own music sparks alot of interest.
For example our dd likes things from the Housemartins to classical

The classic fm cd for children is very good btw but if your a fan already you may have alot of the stuff thats on it.

fillyjonk Sun 03-Jun-07 07:44:20

we do listen to a lot of music. we also have a lot of instruments lying around the house and we "play" with them. I play the violin, embarassinly badly, and can bash out a tune or two on most instruments, so we do a fair bit of that.

its the follow through that i'm feeling like we're lacking

I think I want a Plan.

FrannyandZooey Sun 03-Jun-07 07:47:02

oh well maybe not THAT good

I think the materials and activities are nicely thought out, and at a pace and level that is appropriate for the different ages. They use different styles of music, including classical, and get the children starting to play together as well as experimenting with moving to music, and experiencing rhythm, different tempos, pitch, etc

I think the research and knowledge behind it is sound, and focuses on actual musical concepts rather than being brash child pleasing pap (naming no names)

(although the cds do have American voices)

you get a pack with lots of games, and follow up activities, including related crafts and stuff to do at home. It all feels very well thought out and the activities are the kind of open ended creative thing that you would be doing yourself anyway, but linked to that weeks class

of the ones I have attended Kindermusik is definitely one of the better ones

twentypence Sun 03-Jun-07 07:47:27

hi filly,

How old are your children? I will write you a simple program that you can do with them together, which I will steal from my own paper on making music with mixed age groups.

Or you could move to NZ and come to my classes, but that would be extreme. I will be in the north of England soon if that's any use to you.

FrannyandZooey Sun 03-Jun-07 07:50:21

oooh ooh huge gatecrash

20p if you have ideas for this age group that you don't mind sharing I would LOVE to hear them

I run a group for preschoolers and am always looking for new ideas, can share some stuff with you if anything I do is relevant to your work

pls email frannyandzooey at india dot com if this is a possibility

Nbg Sun 03-Jun-07 07:51:16

How old are your dc?

Are they too young to start lessons of a particular instrument for example?
We bought a piano last year and although neither I or dh can play we thought it would be nice for dd to have the choice.
My mum is having lessons and she shows dd the basics and I can do the odd nursery rhyme

Maybe lessons or a class is what you need.
I think Kindermusik or something similar would be good because you can go home after the class and focus on what it is in that particular lesson you have been doing.

You could always tell which children had bee listening to the stuff at home and which hadnt at the next classes.
They do follow up classes too btw.

fillyjonk Sun 03-Jun-07 07:52:50

it does sound like what i want, it might give me some ideas / confidence here. I think I have probably got the skills to do this.

or a nice book would also be fine

pmsl at craft related activities. This is one of my bugbears. "oh, you like bach? here, draw a bach mask, or a bach inspired snowflake". sorry. john holt overdose

ok have found a class about 40 minutes away and emailed. Am still unsure whether this will go ahead as the age groups don't work for us. Also bloody hell- 2x prices

twentypence Sun 03-Jun-07 07:53:07

Okay F&Z - I just need to know the ages you work with so I can be specific and if they all come at once or in different age groups.

I maybe play 2 CD tracks per lesson and none at all with very young babies. I wouldn't last 5 minutes as a franchise musician!

fillyjonk Sun 03-Jun-07 07:56:19

oooooh 20p x posting

that would be MOST kind


thats what i need. I really do.

kids are 3.5 and nearly 2. its the 3.5 yo this is for, but obv need to keep 2 yo involved otherwise she will wreck the joint.

i dunno if you want to stick it here or email me but my addy is

fillyjonk Sun 03-Jun-07 07:57:39

the other thing is that at school i was a hyper straigh A student and that "you can always tell which kids had done their homework" thing is going to appeal to that side of me, which I have been REALLY trying to quash

FrannyandZooey Sun 03-Jun-07 07:58:15

No, it isn't like that....more that the songs tell stories, and so the activity would be connected to that story

eg the topic ds's group is doing now is "Busy Cities" and all the songs are about people / things in the city. There's a game of dancing to classical music (I think something from the Magic Flute) and then stopping and freezing when the cd says "pose". You pretend to be a statue like the ones in the book. Then at home we modelled statues from different materials, it was all very open ended

another week there was a story about a photographer, and they learnt a song with sign language about taking photos, then at home we took photos and made a photo album telling a story about something that they had done

it also suggests other things like further reading and games to play, etc

I really like the at home activities because it kicks me up the arse to do the sort of thing that I think I should be doing every week, but never usually get round to

twentypence Sun 03-Jun-07 07:59:39

Okay from you profile I see 3 years and almost 2. In my classes you would be together and only pay $1 for the second child but I am deffo more than 40 minutes away!

The main music skills are a concept of pitch. Spotting the higher notes and the lower notes. I teach this by singing up a scale whilst moving a prop (teddy, scarf, beanbag, rainbow ring, parachute, baby, doll etc) up in steps. then I come down. I go up a total of a fifth singing up, up, up, up, up, and then down, down, down, down, down. I also use my five fingers, or finger puppets, or big numbers on the floor. Sometimes I play them on the piano, flute etc. so that the word cue isn't there. I do this a lot, and pretty much every child I teach asks for this every day from a parent.

I have more - obviously this is just one idea for pitch, but is this the sort of thing you wanted and the right level of detail?

twentypence Sun 03-Jun-07 08:01:03

That should be "one of the main skills".

FrannyandZooey Sun 03-Jun-07 08:01:45

20p I do two age groups, one for babies under 1 year, and one for age 1 - 4. I tend to mostly aim the activities at the lower age group, as the older ones can then accomplish them with ease and repetition never hurts I feel, but I may be changing my age groups around at some point

there are usually about 10 children each week

I do a mixture of activities every week so we are doing dance, circle games, story time etc as well as some music acitivities

fillyjonk Sun 03-Jun-07 08:03:19

oh gosh that sounds splendid

i am biased because I can't be doing with piles of precious toilet roll-and-eggbox tat in my house, that can NEVER be thrown out (grr at dp).

are there any books on the theory of this? (please no one say Rudiments, I have a small Rudiments, pocket sized for emergencies, I need stuff about what they need to know and how to do it)

fillyjonk Sun 03-Jun-07 08:04:45

yes that sounds exactly what i want 20p

its the exercises that I have no idea a. how to "teach" and b. what they need to know

I can think of do rae me etc for teaching the idea of scales but thats about it

twentypence Sun 03-Jun-07 08:09:55

You need "Music, Learning and your child" by Julie Wylie, published by Canterbury University Press. It gives in great and loving detail exactly what you want for your children. All the ideas are well tested and researched. it's on the reading list for all the preschool teachers at the Uni.

Julie is a trained music teacher, a mother and grandparent and just about the most lovely woman on the planet.

I have 2 copies left here (I sell them to parents who have lots of questions about the theory behind it all). I'm wondering if I can sell them to you somehow?

nannynick Sun 03-Jun-07 08:13:56

At work, I have classical music on a lot - Radio 3 generally. In the car, we often have Lloyd Webber musicals - Joseph (middle 2 children aged 2 and 4 actually sign to this now, sometimes arguing over who has which part), Starlight Express, Maria as well as other musicals like Bugsy Malone, plus story related music such as Peter & The Wolf and Jack & The Beanstalk.

We found quite a nice music group near us, though are not going at the moment as it is nice to play outside and it got rather repetitive. The format of the group is that the same songs are done each time, which helps the children learn the songs, with occasional new songs for festive periods such as Xmas.
Instruments consisted of Bells, Shakers and Drums (made from baby powder tubs). Expect we will go back in the Winter, as it is a low-cost indoor activity.

At home we have access to a variety of instruments, such as Piano, drums, violin, recorder, guitar, xylophone. Piano seems the favourite thing to tinker with, it is accessible to all (unless they bash toy cars on the keys).

As you want to do music at home, I don't really think there are any suggested songs, though these could be a few to start with:

If You're Happy And You Know It
Wind The Bobbin Up
Dingle Dangle Scarecrow
Hickory Dickory Dock
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Row Row Row The Boat

I can suggest a book - This Little Puffin (Elizabeth M. Matterson) - which has a selection of nursery rhymes and action songs.

nannynick Sun 03-Jun-07 08:18:29

20p, that sounds an interesting book, will see if my boss has that (is a teacher), if he doesn't may get it myself.

You could perhaps put it on over at Mumsnet: For Sale - though that is designed really for 2nd hand things, rather than new I think.

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