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There's more to musicality than meets the ear!

Updated: May 7, 2023

As you know I LOVE storytelling and early literacy but did you know I also LOVE music!?

I have played the flute and saxophone, been in dance groups and sung in choirs (as a child and adult). Like many I dreamed of being a star as a child and each week I can feel like one when I play music to support children’s musicality. And you can feel like a star too!

So, what is musicality?

Musicality can refer to a person's natural ability to understand, appreciate, and create music or as I will be using it in my mini-course musicality is the ability to express oneself through movement in response to music. For children in an early childhood setting this can be done lying, sitting, standing, clapping, tapping, swaying, and jumping to the beat of music. But I like to be intentional and have music and items to support rather than just put on any music (although that can be fun).

Children are naturally drawn to music, rhythm, and incorporating music into their daily activities can help stimulate their brain development and enhance their cognitive, social, and emotional skills. I have seen children do this naturally in order to express themselves or release energy or feelings.

But some children need the space and an invitation to do this safely and with others.

I promote musicality by incorporating movement activities or items paired with music. Over the years I have tested many pieces of music from different genres and have a solid list that always works. The most successful musicality music has no words or lyrics, which may surprise you. In the mini-course I provide my list (and it’s on Spotify) to support you and the children of any age (and ideas on how and what to use with it). Having this music will give you confidence and in turn the children. For example, leading the children with movement that matches the rhythm of a particular song may feel daunting but with the list and knowing the music works you will feel freer to encourage the children to create their own movements that correspond to different sections of the music.

When selecting music to support musicality with preschoolers, it is important to choose music that is engaging and varied. You may already be using some of this music for singing or group times and could adapt them for movement and musicality:

· Nursery Rhymes and children’s songs: these are a great way to introduce preschoolers to the world of music. They are repetitive and help children to remember the lyrics and tune. To add musicality, you need to add movement vary the speed (tempo) or beat a great example is "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." You can get children to hold hands and move to the beat as a group or in pairs. You could add sticks and the children could move them from side to side like a paddle sitting or moving around the room. This helps children follow and recognise patterns which are early maths and literacy skills.

· Classical Music: one of my go-to classical piece or montage is Hooked on Classics by Louis Clark and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as it has so many different tempos and ways to express feelings in one piece. It lends itself to using every day or bought instruments to items that encourage movement like scarves or balls. Moving to music builds confidence to participate and communicate which are the building blocks of literacy.

· Music from Different Cultures: Introducing children to music from different cultures can help broaden their musical horizons and foster an appreciation for diversity. Examples of music from different cultures include African drumming, Native American flute music, and Japanese Taiko drumming. You can add movement with real items from the culture or made ones. Being a teacher in New Zealand I like to use Māori music and add poi and rākau (sticks) with music written for them. Poi are natural ‘movement makers’ and lend themselves to musicality without even trying.

Last but not least I like to combine my two loves together- books and musicality. I can’t go past a book that is or lends itself to musicality! We’re going on a bear hunt is a classic that you would have heard of and many may have extended with a ‘bear hunt’ inside or outside. BUT you can also add musicality to books with your voice or by supporting children to move to them while you read them. Other books I LOVE are Crocodile Beat for movement and for collaboration The Happy Hedgehog Band.

Musicality can encourage children to explore their musical abilities and foster a lifelong appreciation for music which is magical. Are you ready to add musicality to your early childhood setting?

Until next time.


P.S. there are affliate links where I may get $$ if you buy anything

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