“There should be music in the child’s environment, just as there does exist in the child’s environment spoken speech. In the social environment the child should be considered and music should be provided.”
– Maria Montessori
One thing we really enjoy together in our home is music. My husband is the musician of our family and since the time I was pregnant with our oldest he would frequently grab one of his guitars or his ukelele to play us tunes while we both supplied the vocals. Growing up, I started out on the recorder before learning the clarinet and played in our school band and occasionally our sports pep band group. I also sang alto in our school chorus group and soprano in a more selective girls’ group I believe it was called. However, that was a long time ago and I have forgotten as much as I remember. When my husband said recently that he’d like to participate in the homeschooling of our daughter by teaching a subject, I thought it was so sweet and we both knew music would be a great fit for him.
A consistent part of their preschool music routine is comprised of Song Fragment Activities. These consist of Echo songs and Call-and-Response songs. Echo songs require the child to repeat what the teacher says. “Down by the Bay” is an excellent example of this. In this song, each line is initiated by the teacher and then repeated by the student, with the exception of the last line of each verse. My husband holds a pretend microphone to provide a visual cue as to who’s turn it is to sing. Call-and-Response songs require the child to have memorized their portion beforehand. The teacher sings a line, and the student then independently sings their own memorized line. “John the Rabbit” is a good example of this type of song. Once my daughter becomes familiar with her new Echo songs, my husband transitions them over to more of a Call-and-Response type of song where she is cued to sing a portion that requires memorization of the song, almost like a fill-in-the-blank activity. This kind of variation entices her to excitedly participate in songs she already knows, waiting to see which phrase she will be called on to sing.
Another portion of their routine consists of Pitch Exploration. Right now, that includes teaching range or, more specifically, high and low. We use a combination of musical instruments, such as our Glockenspiel, our voices, and full-body movement to illustrate the difference between the two. It is not unusual to see our daughter reaching for the stars singing ‘Hiiiiiiiiiiiiggggh’ in her best soprano or laying on the ground singing ‘Loooooooowwww’ in her best alto. We also use poems and stories and play the part of different voices using high and low pitches. “Big Pig” is a great poem for this type of activity, but most stories or poems can be transformed with some creativity on the part of the teacher/parent.
We also take advantage of our Amazon Echo, and our Prime Music Library as a repository for Music Appreciation. Alexa is always available to play various types of background music while we engage in other preschool activities, art being the subject we mix with music most often. No matter what you are currently up to with your preschooler in music education, the Glockenspiel is very helpful because it is an easily understood visual aid as your preschooler watches you play, and it is a hands-on way for them to experiment with sound. Our daughter and son both spend a lot of time exploring the keys and the sounds that are made with their Glockenspiel, sometimes gently and sometimes heavy-handed. Fortunately, ours is very durable and can handle the love it receives from our children. I definitely recommend this child-friendly instrument to anyone looking for something to accompany their preschool music curriculum.
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