Can you teach music to a mixed age group of U5s?

Can you teach music to a mixed age group of under 5s-

Yes, music can be enjoyed by children of all ages.

You may wonder how those children who are sitting still are benefitting like those who are singing and moving to the music. Please read on to find out how music can benefit all during a music time.

Singing

On my Magical Music Time online training course I talk about the development of children’s voices.  One point I make is, when we do a singing activity we are not always asking the children to join in with all the singing.  It maybe just a word that you want to learn or a phrase, or if you have very young children they will be just listening.  A toddler may or may not be ready to sing the song but he/she is being exposed to the tune and words which when they are ready will help them learn the song.

Let’s use Twinkle, twinkle little star as an example.  Many children in the UK will frequently hear this song from an early age.  It has a very tricky tune but I’ve heard children as young as 2 attempting to singing it; the tune is not always accurate but the main element is there. 

Why is this? 

Well, I believe it is because they have been exposed to it from an early age and they have heard it sung many times. 

So, by singing songs to our mixed age group all children are benefiting.  The older children who are ready to learn the words and tune will be joining in.  Those who are younger will be taking in the tune and words ready for when they have developed the skills needed to sing it.

Listening to music

Children’s listening preferences are made very early on so it is important that children listen to a wide range of music from an early age.  Listening to music can be experienced in may ways and it is especially helpful if you make it a multi sensory experience.  The older children can move to the music.  Whereas those who are not yet walking can watch the other children and props whilst listening to the music.  When leading baby classes I tried to include as many of the senses as I could.  In the listening part I would have some sessions where the children would listen, watch, touch and smell.

For example, when I chose the theme ‘In The Woods’ the babies experienced: cones to touch under adult supervision; fir tree to smell under adult supervision; lying under and watching my woodland canopy; and listening to woodland sounds.  These weren’t all delivered at the same time but progressed from one to another.  This approach could also be used with a mixed age group.

So, don’t let having a mixed age group of children put you off doing music.

Happy music making!

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