Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Early Elementary Goals

Posted by on February 25, 2014

Since September, the studio has been blessed to have a number of Pre-K students, ages 3 and 4 years old, as well as kindergartners and very early elementary-aged students.  It is a wonderful age to learn.  The effect of an early start in music; the impact on a child’s entire academic journey, as well as personal development, is deep and  profound.  My approach is to work through a very wide “neural tunnel”. Rote and ear playing are common when working with young children; and these skills are important, but  I believe in a wider, deeper  breadth of instruction. When a wide instructional tunnel is opened, the neurons in the students’ brains fire through that portal, creating great numbers of neural networks that are ready to absorb all manner of information and instruction.  The wider that tunnel, the greater the numbers of receptor networks for learning and comprehension.  In the beginning, the process is slow because we are unlocking hand/eye coordination, eye tracking and pre-reading, physical training, and many more skills.  By taking the broader, more comprehensive approach, the foundation forms slowly.  But as the skills take hold, the student is equipped to soar with confidence because they are more completely knowledgeable.

To teach music is to teach a language; a language that is read, spoken, and physically implemented.   Play-based, kinesthetic learning is the first step – recognition of signs, notes, and symbols (learning what notes and symbols mean even before knowing the exact dictionary label for the term) is discovery.  Exploring keyboard geography is an adventure…..targeting larger muscle movement and a knowledge of keyboard topography and function helps the student to begin to learn how to use the keyboard and will begin to develop their “ear”.  Bears (low) visiting the birds (high) and birds visiting the bears, and dogs (middle) barking and counting…..enables the child to feel confidence and an early sense of mastery in using the keyboard.

We count, we clap, we play with lollipop drums and tambourines.  We march and sing and play music symbol card games.  We play rhythm and pitch identification games and we have great fun playing Simon Says with the Kodaly solfege hand signs.  The students love to fill their charts as they earn stickers to represent the achievement of skill goals through practice.  The “prizes” they choose from the “Book  and Art Supply Basket” are meaningful because they did the work, accomplished the goals, and earned the reward.  These seeds of discovery and accomplishment sown in early childhood reap great rewards in the young student’s growth and development.

 

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