As an Early Childhood Music teacher I’m often asked what the “purpose” of music education is for our youngest students. Is the intent to create a rich educational experience or to provide a fun, engaging activity class that little ones love? My answer, both!
The best early childhood music classes use strong curriculum based on research, classroom experience, music and activities that both children and parents enjoy. The classes are taught by well-trained teachers who keep class activities fun, fresh, engaging, and honor each child’s unique learning style as well as their response to the music. If you’re wondering why your child might benefit from an early childhood music class and what to look for when choosing a class, check out my tips below.
Why your child will benefit from an Early Childhood Music Class:
- Sponge Years: Your child’s infant, toddler, and preschool years are a prime period for music development. Research shows that, like language, the early years of a child’s life are the critical period for learning and absorbing information and that includes music education.
- Guidance: A well designed early childhood music class will guide your child toward understanding and creating music. Children absorb, imitate, and model musical skills and behavior from a well trained instructor. As children learn, they begin to sing in tune, move rhythmically, and demonstrate basic understanding of musical form.
- Competency: Every child can develop musical skills. Like any area of competency, musical development needs to be nurtured and developed over time. Children are encouraged as they progress and gain confidence in their abilities as mini musicians.
- Early Exposure: Studies indicate the bulk of development that forms musical aptitude is occurs up to around age nine. Enrolling in a high quality, early childhood music class is a great way for your child to be exposed to music from an early age and begin to develop their musical ear and vocabulary.
- Fun: A great early childhood music class is a class in which the children have a blast. A teacher who loves music and can impart that love of music while instructing your little one is the perfect mix.
What to look for when choosing and Early Childhood Music Class:
- Variety: Excellent early childhood music classes should create rich musical environments with repertoire in various tonalities and meters. An experienced teacher understands how to introduce these tonalities and meters to children in ways that aredevelopmentally appropriate and fun.
- Improvisation: Children should be given the chance to express their own musical ideas through voice as well as instruments and eventually through composing. Children need the opportunity to create their own musical thoughts, to “converse” with music the way they do with language.
- Play-Based: Early Childhood Music Classes should focus on informal guidance rather than formal learning. The best music classes are rich educational experiences disguised as play. Students should feel encouraged and inspired by one another as they “play” their way through the learning experience.
- Experienced Teacher: Try to find a class taught by a well respected teacher with years of experience. A seasoned music teacher will have experience teaching a variety of students and adjusting to their learning styles. A great teacher has a large “toolbox” of techniques and strategies to teach each concept and can draw upon that toolbox when needed.
Finally, don’t put too much pressure on your little one to respond a certain way in class. Every child learns and processes information in a different way. Some students are observers, quiet and watchful. Others are movers and shakers, always on the go wiggling and jiggling. Finally, some students are quite vocal, talking, singing, and making lots of noise. Teachers do not judge students based on their response to the material and neither should you! Students participate in the way that is most comfortable for them and broaden their participation as they reach the next developmental stage. So, relax and enjoy! Know that you are starting your child on a lifetime journey to love, appreciate, enjoy, and make music.
You can find a listing of available music classes at Elite Sports Clubs on our kids activities calendar.
Contact Ginger directly at [email protected] with questions or suggestions for class placement. We also offer free demos of classes for a sneak peek at all Elite has to offer for music classes, as well as other fine arts programming!
By Ginger Lazovik, Elite Sports Club-River Glen Fine Arts Director