10/11/10

Preschool Music

Recently I have become really interested in early childhood music education. In the past I would always say that students definitely need to be at least five years old to take lessons. And if you're speaking in terms of traditional sit on the bench and learn piano lessons, I still believe that is true. But, as the mother of a bright little two-year-old who loves music, the wheels in my brain have really been turning about this subject. I am excited that we will be discussing this topic a lot this week!

My son loves music. He loves to dance around the room when we play the piano, and particularly when my husband plays fast, exciting pieces like the 3rd movement of Moonlight Sonata or Maple Leaf Rag. I have found that he absolutely loves to learn about music and to have "piano lessons" with me. I have also learned the importance of keeping it fun and exciting - I would never force him to play the piano,  95% of the time it is he who comes to me, wanting to play the piano. In fact, he has learned his first little piece and loves to play it! How cute is that.

I recently found out about a new website all about preschool music, and they have some really wonderful video interviews where they discuss preschool music - check it out! These are so informative, and I particularly enjoyed the video about research showing the benefits of music to preschoolers.

I really do feel that children who have exposure to music at an early age can really learn a lot, and that it will have far-reaching positive effects in their development. In the future I would love to teach preschool music classes. I know of many readers who have wonderful piano blogs who have mentioned "pre-piano camps" for young children - what a great thing!

I have actually started teaching "piano lessons" to a couple of preschool-aged students. I put piano lessons in quotations because it is so different than any piano lessons I have taught in the past! "Lessons" are super short - 15 minutes. We hardly even sit at the piano bench. We sit on the floor and play games, we tell stories, we listen to music, we play and improvise on the piano - and the students have such fun, while learning some great foundational concepts about music and the piano. I will probably be sharing some of the games I have been using, so stay tuned! In the meantime - for those of you readers who teach preschool music of some type, what are some things you have learned about teaching this age group? What are some ways you have found to teach music in a fun way?

7 comments:

Jentry said...

You should think about becoming a Kindermusik educator. I did it last year and teaching the classes have been really fun. The entire training is online and you have the option of getting the training for running your own Kindermusik business or working for someone else. I'm sure there are lots of Kindermusik teachers where you are, you should go check out a class with James, the first class is free.

Heidi said...

I love the precious little video of your son's "first recital." It is so fun and rewarding to be able to teach my own children piano concepts. That was the main reason why I did "piano preschool" last year (although the little bit of extra $ was nice too.) I love the My First Piano Adventures CDs (and books) because the song themes are great for little ones. I supplemented with a lot of movement activities too. It was nice to have a small group (4) since preschoolers are soooooo active!

Jenny Bay said...

Jentry - I had no idea you could get the training completely online! I will definitely have to look into that, thanks! I have been wanting to get training in something like that. Sweet!

Heidi - thanks for the recommendation - I will definitely have to check out those cd's.

Tanya said...

I don't know what programs are available in the US, but here in Canada we have the Kelly Kirby piano program - it's geared towards Kindergarten-aged children, but can be used for a wide range of ages. The students learn to paste, glue, colour, sing, march, and more, all while learning to play the piano. It's a ton of fun for both the teacher and the student!

The Thomas Family said...

I have a bright, musically inclined just-turned-three year old. I agree with getting them started early and I'm actually having a lot of fun with her. Anything that I do with my students that I feel would be age-appropriate, I will do with her also.
Like Heidi, I mostly use the My First Piano Adventures book and CD, she absolutes loooooves it, Monster Bus Driver is her favorite :) I also purchased the Piano Mouse Goes to Preschool software based on your recommendation and I have to say I am really pleased with it and my 3 year old absolutely loooves it,she asks to do it every day. She was having trouble differentiating the sets of 2 and 3 black keys but since playing that game, she now has no trouble at all.
Another suggestion of something you could do with your 2 year old is "Alphabet Snake" it's from the website Music Mind Games, you can see my blog for a post about it. My 3 year old loved it. Isn't it so awesome that we're able to give them such a head start in music and the piano?

Jenny Bay said...

Tanya, that sounds awesome! Sounds very hands-on and just plain fun.

The Thomas Family - I just looked at your post about "Alphabet Snake" and I love it! What a great idea. So glad you loved Pianomouse, isn't it wonderful?

me said...

Hi Jenny,
I've been teaching the "Music for Young Children" program here in Canada for 10 years. I know it's in the USA too. (www.myc.com) At the preschool level it's full of dance, rhythm activities & singing. Kids absolutely adore the characters "Buddy Croak" & "Mellow Yellow". It also leads nicely into group beginner keyboard classes.

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