Children of Tomorrow: Thoughts On Mindful Music Education in the Early Childhood Space
By Marlena Raymond - Mini Maestros Business Development Assistant
As educators, musicians, teaching artists and parents, it is essential that we regularly reflect on what we do, how we do it and why we do it in order to provide meaningful learning experiences to the children in our care and remain at the forefront of thinking in our field, amongst many other things. In addition to thinking on the practicalities of class room activities, class room management/social and group dynamics, meeting desired learning outcomes etc., let us broaden the scope of our reflections to include reflections on (1) the child-created and adult/child co-created image of the child, and (2) the power of symbolic languages such as music and dramatic play.
Idea 1 – the image of the child and child as protagonist
The image of the child has evolved over time and depicts the child as an individual who is capable and creative (Deans & Brown 2008), is a ‘cultural citizen’ (Robinson 2001), and has agency over her own learning and collective agency over the learning focus/direction of the group. This image of the child can be child-created, but is often adult-child co-created. As teaching artists, we can mindfully contribute to the image of the child, the cultural life of the child and of the Early Learning Centre or Kindergarten, develop imagination and creativity, build community, develop sensitivity, team work, cohesion and self-worth, develop a sense of self-discipline and foster a sense of wellbeing. In line with the image of the empowered child, we can offer learning opportunities and facilitate discovery that supports the child’s ownership of the experience.
Idea 2 – symbolic languages: music, dramatic play and visual arts
Let’s ask ourselves: as a teaching artist, how can I facilitate investigation through dramatic role-play? How can I facilitate investigation through sound-scape creation? How can I facilitate investigation though drawing and visual art? How can I facilitate investigation though creative movement? As discussed by Deans and Brown (2008), as a specialist arts education program, we can share modes of expression that are non-languaged, i.e. symbolic languages, such as role-play, movement and sound. Within sound, we can create symbolic meaning using pitch, dynamics, timbre and orchestration.
Through music and arts education, children are ‘…engaged in the production of artworks that [are] personally meaningful and aesthetically pleasing, and affirmed by their teachers and families’ (Deans & Brown 2008). Engaging in the symbolic languages of music, drama and the visual arts serves to introduce abstract thought, provide a means of relaxation, provide a means for aesthetic education, develop thinking skills, develop imagination and creativity and develop and extend language and listening skills. Research points to the use of symbol in assisting children to develop comprehension, memory, concentration and meta-linguistic skills (Deans & Brown 2008). Furthermore, the literature shows that:
‘…it is important to go beyond the surface level, and tap into the rich learning experiences afforded through the combining of cognitive, affective, aesthetic, spiritual and cultural ways of knowing – captured in the arts’ (Deans & Brown 2008).
Creative responses in the classroom that demand full engagement of the whole child – cognitively, physically, emotionally etc. – tend to demonstrate ‘detailed memory, bodily kinaesthetic awareness and creative interpretation’ (Walker 2007). Hence, communicating using multiple platforms (word, song, dance, role-play etc.), increases ‘…the children’s ability to represent and reflect on their learning, and in doing so, communicate their thoughts and feelings more fully to adults’ (Walker 2007) and each other. As teaching artists, we can facilitate expression of thoughts and feelings.
I believe that the arts are naturally engaging for children, promote active learning, inspire the imagination, foster cognitive, kinaesthetic and aesthetic awareness, and promote play. This has been a musing on what we do, how we do it and why we do it.
What’s on for teaching artists? http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/arts-and-culture/artplay/artists/artist-learning-program/pages/artist-learning-program.aspx
What’s on for children and parents? http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/arts-and-culture/artplay/whats-on/pages/default.aspx
Deans, J, Brown, R 2008, ‘Reflection, Renewal and Relationship Building: an ongoing journey in early childhood arts education’, Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 339-353.
Robinson, K 2001, ‘Out of Our Minds: learning to be creative ,’ Oxford, Capstone Publishing.
Walker, K 2007, ‘Children and their Purple Crayons: understanding their worlds through their drawings’, Childhood Education, vol. 84, no. 2, pp. 96-101.
- Term 2 is now underway!
- Kodály, Orff, Dalcroze and Suzuki - By Jo Irwin - Mini Maestros Sunbury and Macedon Ranges Franchisee
- New Mini Maestros Customer App
- Diving Deeper - Connection by Maddy Kelly - Mini Maestros' Training & Development Manager
- Diving Deeper - Imagination. By Caroline Paterson
- Diving Deeper - Creativity by Kitty Skeen - Mini Maestros Bendigo Franchisee
- Interview with Dr Anita Collins – By Esther Bertram
- Onlooker Learners - By Emma Hart, Former Mini Maestros Head Of Teaching
- Meet The Team - Ally Hvalica
- Music and Intellectual Development - By Alison Cusack & Linda Repic
- Who is your child's best teacher? Part 1 of 2 By Emma Hart - Former Mini Maestros Head of Teaching
- Who is your child's best teacher? Part 2 of 2 By Emma Hart - Former Mini Maestros Head of Teaching
- Diving Deeper - Physical Skills - By Taryn Wright
- Inter-generational music making is building healthy communities
- Writing Music Down - by 3MBS
- Diving Deeper - Social Skills by Kate Rice
- The Importance of Repetition
- Diving Deeper - Learning to listen by Robyn Stewardson
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Esther Bertram - Marketing and Franchise Development Manager
- Meet the Team - Jo Irwin
- Diving Deeper - Imagination and Music By Lisa Marcolin
- Speech Development - Stories from Parents by Annette L. Graham
- Why Have Concerts? - By Emma Hart, Fomer Mini Maestros Head of Teaching
- Diving Deeper - The Power of Song by Kitty Skeen Part 1 of 2
- Diving Deeper - The Power of Song by Kitty Skeen Part 2 of 2
- Meeting the Head Office Team - Maddy Kelly
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Bruce Fethers - Co-owner & Managing Director
- Diving Deeper - Dance - by Cathy Edgar
- The Senses - By Robyn Grose
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Jennifer Smith - Co-owner & Music Director
- The Power of Music in Expressing Children's Emotions by Chantelle Alvaro
- Play - By Kate Howard
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Introducing Stephanie Migliore
- Relationships - By Ally Hvalica
- Developmental Milestones - By MaryRose Harrison
- Stories From Parents/Grandparents - Bobbie Carroll
- Meeting The Head Office Team - Introducing Monika Szilagyi
- JOY by Tiff Ikin
- Music Education
- Peekaboo Scarves by Emma Hart, Former Mini Maestros Head of Teaching
- All Shapes of the World
- Music Forever
- Nurturing the Love of Music
- Music. Feel it all over.
- Mini Maestros - It's Not Just About The Children.
- Mid-term Magic
- The Creative Life
- 5 Simple Ways to Nurture Creativity in Our Children
- Discovering the Joy of Music
- Five Alternative Ways to Say "Well Done!"
- "Good morning Bumblebee"
- A Mini Maestros Moment
- The exchange between teacher and child
- The joy of being a new mum, and the importance of connection learning and play
- BABIES CLASSES - a very special and important time for you and your child.
- 5 Ways To Jam With Your Child At Home
- Was Your First Mini Maestros Class What You Expected?
- Moving to a Steady Beat and the Young Brain
- Learning an Instrument