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In This Issue
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Music in Our Schools Month  


 

Music is an essential educational tool that can contribute to all learning environments, and the early childhood classroom is no exception. March is Music in Our School Month and an appropriate time to incorporate music exposure and education within the early care curriculum. Music is vital to the development of language and listening skills. Music and the language arts both consist of symbols, and when used in combination, abstract concepts become more concrete. Furthermore, music activities can improve attention span and memory, and expand vocabulary.

There are numerous reasons why children should have frequent and varied musical experiences. Children exposed to music have a greater motivation to communicate with the world. Beginning at an early age, music has the ability to create motivation for children to communicate with peers and instructors. Self-management and social skills improve with musical activities, and children also learn to be more comfortable expressing their creativity at an early age. In addition, music exposes children to the existence and richness of their own culture, as well as the heritage and cultures of other people and regions. The nonverbal form of communication provided through music can help bridge the gaps among children of different backgrounds.

In addition to increased communication skills, heightened cognitive and neurological development is another major benefit to incorporating music into the curriculum at an early age. Music can even improve children's math and science achievement by improving development in key areas of the brain. There is a connection between math and music based on music notation (e.g., chords and time signatures), where written music can essentially be seen as a mathematical equation. If you've ever danced or tapped your foot to the beat, then you probably aren't surprised to hear that the human brain is innately attracted to a steady rhythm and the repetitive structure shared by popular songs. Furthermore, brain researchers have long recognized the complementary link between mathematical reasoning and musical stimulation in the brain's temporal lobes.

So, what can you do to incorporate more music activities into your curriculum? The great thing about music is you don't have to play an instrument or have a good voice to enjoy its benefits. Try these fun and easy activities:

  • Create a rhythm band: Use body noises to create rhythms. Clap hands, stomp feet, click tongues, and snap fingers to create a rhythm.
  • Dance with ribbon rings: Make your own ribbon rings, and dance along to the beat!
  • Slowly Move to Classical Music: Use softer music to slow move along with classical songs. This type of music is perfect for silk scarves, streamers, and ribbons.
  • Make an Instrument: Use paper plates, plastic Easter eggs, or jingle bells to make your own tambourines, shakers, or cymbals!
  • Sing the Classics: Old Macdonald, You are my Sunshine, The Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, etc.

The positive effect music has on children is undeniable. It's been proven to increase overall wellness and energy levels. Music reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and stimulates the body's ability to create endorphins. Whether an early care provider is trying to bring peace to overstimulated children, make routine activities more enjoyable, or expose children to different cultures, music can be the key to helping development young children. 
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The Patterns of Music 
Article Courtesy of naeyc.org
 
Research on music and music therapy suggests that math and music are related in the brain from very early in life (Burack 2005). Musical elements such as steady beat, rhythm, melody, and tempo possess inherent mathematical principles such as spatial properties, sequencing, counting, patterning, and one-to-one correspondence. 

View Article 
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Music and Movement 
Article Courtesy of earlychildhoodnews.com

"A B C D E F G." Even before the brain research findings, teachers and parents have taught the alphabet to children with the help of a song. Now, based on the research, we understand why. With the help of cat scans, we have been able to see what happens to the brain when listening to music. Each component of music affects a different part of the brain, e.g. a familiar song activates the left frontal lobe, timbre the right frontal lobe, and pitch the left posterior.

 View Article  
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This Month's Trial Course: Music in the Classroom  
 
CCEI offers CHD100: Music in Early Childhood as an online child care training course to new CCEI users during the month of March. 

The goal of this course is to provide an understanding of the importance of music in the early childhood years and the ways in which it can become part of the curriculum and of children's lives. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to define the role of music in a child's development, the role of both quality and variety in the selection of music for children, the impact of music on children's moods and behaviors, the musical elements young children can and should experience, and list appropriate musical activities.  
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