Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Preschool/Kindergarten Music Appreciation A-Z (for young children and other non-musicians)

Everyone loves music, especially children. But a lot of people, especially those with little musical background, don't feel equipped to introduce their children to music. This series of 26 music appreciation lessons is designed for you. None of the lessons require the ability to read music or play an instrument. All it takes is 15 minutes with your family!

Music Appreciation A-Z is meant to be done as a "family music night" every week to go along with a letter of the alphabet. Each lesson, you and your family will learn at least one new musical term and song, as well as get exposure to a composer and his/her music. This music appreciation is set up for young children, preschool-first grade, but there are plenty of "rabbit trails" for you to follow with older kids as well.

You don't need any instruments or musical experience to enjoy this with your kids, but if you do happen to play piano or guitar, I highly recommend buying Dan Fox's The Great Family Songbook.

My kids also love this set of percussion instruments. They're high quality and lots of fun!

(If you do decide to buy these for your family music night, I'd love it if you did so through the links here or in the sidebar!)

All of the lessons are set up as follows.

Gathering Song - You can choose which song works best for your family. We sing "Here We Are Together," but if there is one you like better, by all means do that one. I like to start with a gathering song because it eases transitions with the kids and works as a signal.

Introduce the New Word/Words - Every lesson also includes printable cards with the words and a picture to illustrate the word.

Activity - Reinforce the new musical term with a fun game or activity.

Learn the Song - I will either sing it for you so you can hear it, or provide a link, just in case you are unfamiliar with the song. I will also try to give a little history or other musical tidbit to talk about with the song, although it is totally up to you whether you talk about it or not.

Talk About the Composer and Listen to Music - The amount of time you do this depends on your kids. I will give a very brief snippet of information for you to share with your kids, as well as a link to listen to a performance of one or two of the songs. I will also give ideas of questions to ask about the music and vocab words to introduce if you so desire. Most of these pieces will be very long. Encourage your children to listen, talk about and dance to them as long as their interest holds, but do not expect to get through the entire piece with kids giving their undivided attention. To increase exposure, try playing to music throughout the rest of the week.

Sing "requests" - One of my great hopes with these family music nights is to build up a repertoire of songs we can sing as a family. When your children's interest wanes in the composer's music, reel everyone back in by singing some favorite songs. They can be ones learned in previous lessons, or anything else your family knows and loves. Sing as long as everyone is happy.

Finish Happy - Don't drag this out. Always keep it fun. End when the kids no longer seem to be enjoying singing.

Are you ready?

Our first Music Appreciation lesson is A is for Accelerando!

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