Thursday, April 12, 2012
Helping Your Child Learn Through Music
If you were to stop by my Kindergarten classroom on any given day, you would likely hear my students singing a song. It might be an old favorite, like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”, or a new one that helps us learn about earth science. There are different ways of learning, but all children can learn through music. Here are some of my favorite ways to use music with children to help them improve academically.
Fingerplays – Fingerplays are rhymes set to music that include hand motions. These songs work best with children ages 3 to 6. Fingerplays are also useful because they strength muscles in the fingers and improve fine motor skills. Poor fine motor skills can lead to difficulty holding a pencil, coloring and cutting with scissors, which are all frequent Kindergarten activities. If you have ever watched a child sing, “Where is Thumbkin?” you know how difficult it can be for little ones to get their fingers to move the way they want. Here is a fun fingerplay:
In a cabin in the woods, (make house with fingers)
A little man by the window stood (place hand above eyes, look around)
Saw a rabbit hopping by (make bunny ears)
Knocking at the door (make fists and knocking motions)
“Help, help me, help me,” he said (palms open and up)
Before the rain falls on my head (make motions of falling rain)
Come on in a stay a while (finger motion for come here)
I’ll take care of you (make rabbit ears, pet with other hand)
Songs and chants help children to remember information with repetition, rhythm and rhymes. In early childhood education, songs are often used to reinforce important fundamental knowledge such as days of the week, counting, and learning information such as address and phone number. Free educational songs are available on the Internet to download. Check out the following websites for song lyrics and downloads:
Classical Music – Studies show classical music can improve a child’s focus, attention and memory. Consider playing classic music as background music when your child studies. If you make this a regular practice, the music will be a cue to your child to move into a more attentive mode and be more receptive to learning. There are many CDs available today which feature classical music for children. Look for music by Mozart and Baroque music.
Write Your Own – Use a simple tune that is familiar to your child. Pick a topic or write a silly song. The spontaneity will spark your child’s creativity.
The most of the tips I have listed can be used for various age groups. The key is to find music your child enjoys and to spend time together. Use the gift of music to help your child be successful and joyful.
Debra Vota - I am a Kindergarten teacher who has worked in Early Childhood Education for over twenty years. I am a voracious reader with interests in health, science, historical novels and children’s books. I enjoy learning new things and encourage a love of learning through my work in education. I am a contributor at Yahoo! Voices. To read more of my articles,visit