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How to bring more music into kindergarten

Music brings joy and aesthetic experience. It also holds great potential for the all-round development of the child. Why is this so and which musical activities to focus on?

Musical activities support:

  • Physical development: through singing, children learn to deepen and coordinate their breathing. By playing musical instruments, they strengthen their hand muscles and train fine motor skills. In musical movement games, they improve gross motor skills and body coordination.
  • Cognitive development: music develops the brain and trains memory. Rhymes and songs convey information about the world to children and expand their vocabulary. They also help to perceive mathematical concepts with all the senses.
  • Socio-emotional development: music breaks down boundaries and gives room for imagination. It is a means of creative self-expression sharing feelings and communicating with others. Through musical activities, children learn perseverance, patience, cooperation and other pro-social skills.
Music into kindergarten

The basic human value is kindness. For tips on kind activities, see
How to develop children’s social-emotional skills in kindergarten.

Music education can be implemented in kindergarten through listening, instrumental, singing and musical movement activities:

Listening

Practice auditory perception with your children. Try the sound puzzle, the game Cuckoo, peek, peek, peek, or finding the other of a pair by the sound of a musical instrument.

Incorporate sound into learning activities. Get a variety of recordings that fit the theme of the week. These can be sounds of nature, musical instruments or music from different cultures. Let the children guess what makes which sound.

Build children’s relationship with music. Invite pupils from a local art school or a professional musician to the nursery to give a live concert. Children can learn about different genres of music and different musical interpretations.

The body as a musical instrument

Teach children to use their body as a musical instrument. Get them into the rhythm by snapping, clapping, slapping and stamping. Especially the youngest children can use body play to accompany simple rhymes and budgets.

Own instruments

Put instruments in children’s hands and make music. In kindergartens, instruments from Orff’s instrumentation are usually used for rhythmizing. If you don’t have them available or not enough for everyone, improvise. With a bit of creativity, pretty much anything can be played, use blocks or buckets for example. You can also make your own instruments with the children.

    • Rattles
      Flatten the toilet paper roll at one end and glue it together. Put rice or pulses inside. Then flatten the roll into a cross and glue the other end together.
    • Tambourine
      Fold the paper plate in half, glue the edges together and decorate. Make five holes at regular intervals around the circumference. Thread a string through each hole and attach a bell.
    • Drum
      Decorate the empty can. Thread an inflatable balloon through the hole and secure with a rubber band. Make the sticks from skewers and thread the cork stoppers onto them.

TIP: Let the kids make music sometimes, regardless of technique, and let them make
a lot of noise with their instruments.


Music can cultivate relationships. For more strategies for a welcoming classroom atmosphere, see
How to set a positive culture in kindergarten.

Singing together

Observe the rules of vocal hygiene, breathe well and move your tongues before singing together. Guide the children to a new song, which you will first play and sing yourself. Talk about the content of the lyrics and explain unfamiliar words. Then practice with the children, preferably in sections, always putting the words and melody together with the backing of your singing.

Once the children know the song, you can work with it further:

    • Clap or tap out the rhythm.
    • Fill in the words with appropriate movement exercises.
    • Dramatize the song using masks and props.

Musical movement games

Combine story, music and movement into an appealing whole. Focus on contrast in tempo, dynamics, rhythm, melody or tonality.

    • Sculptures
      Children move freely around the classroom to the music. When the music stops, they all turn into statues.
    • Walk
      Children walk around the classroom, alternating between slow and fast walking. The teacher sets the pace of the walk by playing a musical instrument.
    • Airplane
      Children hold a paper airplane and slowly fly it upwards. At the same time they try to rise with their voice – the higher the plane, the higher the tone. Then they go down again with the plane and their voice. In the next round they do the reverse, making deeper tones when ascending and higher tones when descending.
    • Trip
      Children use their hands to show how they travel uphill, downhill or over stones according to the melody they hear.
    • Echo
      The teacher demonstrates a rhythmic pattern through body play, which the children try to repeat.
    • Bear
      Children tiptoe lightly so as not to wake the sleeping bear. When the bear wakes up, the children demonstrate its stomping, which can be heard throughout the forest.
    • Weather
      Children strut happily in the sunshine as they listen to a piece in the major scale, and trudge sadly in the rain for a minor scale piece.

Dancing

Introduce children to basic dance moves such as walking, running, lunging, hopping, galloping or spinning. Rehearse with them dances to well-known folk songs such as Round, Round the Mill, She Grazed the Sheep or Grandma Had Four Apples. Occasionally give the children free rein to dance as they please. Encourage their creativity and independent expression.

Relaxing

Finally, calm the children (lying down) while listening to relaxing music and guide them through a relaxation exercise. Try:

    • blow into a microtone bag and then let it fly away,
    • roll from side to side and stretch their arms and legs in circular motions,
    • grow like a seed and pull yourself up, then relax your body and drop into a Turkish sit-up,
    • rolling a foam ball over your body without dropping to the floor,
    • caressing every part of your body and mentally thanking her.

 
Music opens the heart. Let it into your classroom, sing, make music, move.
And most of all, have a good time.

 
 

25. 7. 2023 | Martina Zatloukalová

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