How Music Helps in Preschool: Ideas for the Classroom

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That’s Not Noise–That’s Music!

Anyone who has witnessed the joy in a youngster as he bangs pots and pans in the kitchen with a wooden spoon knows that preschoolers are naturally drawn to music. Children love to learn songs and sing them over and over. Children’s songs that incorporate actions are sometimes a child’s first introduction to dance. It is obvious how music helps in preschool. The use of music in the preschool classroom provides teachers with a powerful tool for memorization and movement. Above all, “music time” is enjoyable and gives children a creative outlet of self-expression and joy.

Teach Letters, Numbers and Concepts With Music

The ABC Song is children’s introduction to the alphabet in order–and as a whole. When they learn the song, they are equipped with the skills to recite the alphabet and to correctly pronounce each letter. Counting songs, like the familiar Ten Little Indians, teach young learners to count from one to 10 and then to count the same numbers backwards. Often teachers will instruct children to hold up their fingers in correspondence with the number they are singing. This activity, paired with the singing of the song, gives children tangible representations of the numerals.

You can teach broader concepts to children through the songs they learn in your classroom. Old McDonald is more than a funny ditty full of animal noises. Children learn the names of many animals that are typically raised on a farm. Another preschool favorite, Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes, teaches children to name and point to body parts and facial features, increasing awareness of their physical bodies.

Practice Large and Small Motor Skills With Music

Choose songs that get kids moving. The Itsy Bitsy Spider, a preschool music time staple, offers finger motions that work those small muscles and help little ones gain control of the fine-motor movements they make with their hands. The Hokey Pokey song includes a dance that involves the whole body as children learn to sing the words and do the corresponding action.

Let the preschoolers in your care dance freely to music in your classroom. Play some old favorites and expose them to music they haven’t heard before. Let them work off energy and synchronize their own dance movements to the music that you play.

Inspire Art With Music

Adding an unexpected aspect to an art activity is one of the powerful examples of how music helps in preschool. Pass a large piece of white construction paper to each child in your preschool classroom. Provide them each with a paintbrush and an assortment of different colored tempera paints. Turn on classical music and ask your preschoolers to close their eyes. Ask them to listen to the music and tell you about the picture it creates in their mind. Ask them if the music is happy or sad. Tell the children to open their eyes and paint a picture that is inspired by the music they hear.

Let Preschoolers Make Music

Whether your classroom is equipped with a selection of instruments, or children play instruments that your class made themselves, turn your circle time into a mini-orchestra to provide a creative outlet. Children learn to recognize patterns in music and imitate rhythms when they play along with recorded music. Stop the music sometimes to let the children take turns playing their instrument solo for the group. The children will boost their confidence and the listening classmates get to honor their efforts with clapping and cheers.