Music In Our Lives

Whether it is a babyís first lullaby, clapping our hands to the beat of a song, or whistling a tune music plays a role in all our lives. Every culture in the world creates and participates in musical activities. Music is used for celebration, for entertainment, and for times of sorrow. For centuries music has lead people into battle, expressed their rites of passage to adulthood, and represented religious beliefs.

In order for people to appreciate different types of music they must first become familiar with it. The best way to introduce young children to music is to expose them to many different musical styles in a relaxed and fun setting. Try playing a variety of music at a specific time of day. You might listen to music while the family eats breakfast or while they play together. Evening is another nice time to listen to music. It may be the background to a family reading or discussion time, or it may soothe small children to sleep.

Each time you listen to music, state the composer, the players, the style of music, and the name of the particular piece or album. Let children draw their own conclusions about what they like best. Be sure to try many different types of music. Play classical, jazz, rock, country western, hiphop, folk music, marches, waltzes, and music from different cultures.

To involve children more directly with the music, try a simple activity to accompany it. Sing, dance, or play an instrument while the music plays. Take the time to study the music of one composer, such as Ludwig van Beethoven, and learn something about the composerís life.

Musical Activities

Make A Rhythm Spoon

You will need:

Use the acrylic paints to paint the wooden spoon with any design you like. Once the spoon is completely painted and dry, place the washers in the middle of the spoon. Have an adult put the screw or nail in the center of the washers and drive it into the spoon. It should be driven in to the spoon far enough to hold the washers firmly, but not so far that the point extends beyond the opposite side of the spoon.

Now put on some music, hold the rhythm spoon by the handle, and shake it to the beat. If you want to make your rhythm spoon even fancier, attach a few feathers or ribbons to the end of the handle.

Dancing Fun

While it is not necessary to instruct children on how to dance to music, these ideas help add to their creative expression.

Give yourself lots of room for this activity and a pair of comfortable shoes.

Adults may have some inhibitions while dancing, but children, especially young children usually donít. Leap, spin, and twirl to a lively tune. Tap your toes, wiggle your hips, and wave your arms to the music.

As a warm up try watching all or part of a professional dance show. You might attend a live production or watch a video. Ballet, square dancing, and traditional dances from different cultures are all fun to watch. Once it is over, put on some music and attempt to imitate some of the dance steps you just observed.

Try on some costumes while you dance. They need not be elaborate. A hat or unusual pair of shoes may be all that is necessary. For the most shy, try a simple mask. Another fun dancing prop is a scarf to hold in each hand and wave to the music. If you donít have a silk or nylon scarf, tear off a piece of crepe paper streamer to swish through the air while you dance.

If you need more direction for dancing try locating one of these resources to help you out.

Books About Dance

A Finger Friend

You will need:

Use the Finger Friend Pattern page to print a full-size finger friend that fits on a single page. You can also create your own puppet design based on the pattern at the left. Toward the top of the friend draw a face. Cut around the outline of the finger friend. Also cut out the finger holes at the bottom of the friend. Glue on some yarn hair and attach paper arms if you wish. The friend can be simple with just a face or you can add a skirt by according folding paper, glue on some lace, or make a yarn tie. Your finger friend can become a dancing bear, cat, or even a bird with the right additions.

Once the finger friend is decorated and dried. Put your fingers through the holes, turn on some music, and let your friend "dance" across a table or desk top.

Mysterious Music

This activity requires only your good listening ears. Find music in unusual and mysterious places. Listen to the rhythm of wagon wheels on a sidewalk, the hum of a car motor, or the song of birds. Poets describe "babbling brooks," "whistling wind," and "singing caves." If you search with your ears, you can find music in many different places.

As a warm up to this activity, go to the library and check out an audio tape of bird songs or environmental sounds to listen to.

Books for Children




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