I often say that I have the best gig in the world. I get to teach piano in the evenings and I teach little people in the mornings. Sometimes parents ask me why a music circle for the under 6 crowd is important and I have so many reasons up my sleeve, but the first one I always say is “it’s FUN!”. What a great way to bond with your child but through songs and dancing and playing instruments? But there are actual academic, serious reasons why early childhood music is super important. Here are my top 3.
- Little people sometimes have a difficulty time expressing how they feel and music can be a fantastic way to help them with this. Most of the songs I sing in circle are happy, but sometimes (like when the elephants fall off of the spider web) there is a sad or disappointing or frustrating part to the song. Showing children that there are lots of emotions that can be expressed in music is important - and they use this when making their own music. At the end of my music circle I offer an opportunity for children to come and play the piano. How they approach the instrument is often how they demonstrate how they are feeling that day (banging the keys or gently playing them). How long they spend on the instrument also indicates how they are doing that day. It’s a great way for children to express themselves in a non verbal way.
- One of my most favourite things to see is the motor development of my students. Music gives a great opportunity for small fingers to build strength with using various instruments, playing finger songs and playing with props like scarves. But the gross motor development also happens at music circles - we get children up and dancing, swaying to the beat and even listening for variation in music for how they are to move their bodies! Children learn spacial awareness too - how to hold an instrument without getting in someone else’s way, or how to move around the circle without falling over anyone else. Learning with instruments and music is super fun!
- As a teacher I am always aware of how my circle is influencing a child’s cognitive development. I try to keep the same routine every circle so we work on memory and also give children a sense of confidence so they know what is happening next. The songs we sing are repetitive which reinforces pattern recognition. I make sure that some of the music circle is instrumental only so children can hear and react to music without words guiding them which gets to the intuitive part of the brain. However most of our circle is based on singing songs which enhances verbal and phonetic skills. I could go on and on and on about the benefits of a music circle to the cognitive development of children, but I’ll let you decide for yourself!
Come out to a circle with your partner in crime that’s under age 6 and experience the way learning with music can be super fun!