Musical Experience for Young Children and Families

Musical Experience for Young Children and Families

Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2063-5.ch007
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This chapter illustrates how young children learn the violin. A two-year-old boy, Leo, explored the violin, imaginary played the violin, and socially learned from other participants and the perceived musical environment. Four-year-old Moe and Misa were shy and hesitated to play the violin during the official learning opportunity of the author-designed workshop; however, during the free play time after the workshop, they imaginary played the violin. Kiyone, also four years old, learned the violin playing as well as music reading followed by a few months of interaction with the violin. Finally, Vicki, six years old, experienced free play for almost a year and began taking the official lesson. Since she had enough experience of playing just the open strings as a part of her imaginary play, she had very successful music learning to play more than 10 songs in a very short period.
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Holt (1983) wrote a book entitled How Children Learn and described that young children are likely to do their best learning before getting into school. Holt (1983) believed that young children own a natural and powerful way of learning in favor of a method that fits their condition. This classical view of education offers teachers and caregivers deep and original insight to capture the nature of early learning. Although Holt (1983) partly agreed and accepted a vast array of advanced research on young children's development, he constructed his book without using children as data or subjects for research. Instead, Holt (1983) wrote a book with full attention to observe the daily lives of young children in a narrative form. In this chapter, to capture young children’s musical experience “in-situ” moment, this study interwove narratives in the manner described in Holt (1983) in his book How Children Learn, where he observes children’s learning in naturally occurring settings.

Generally speaking, the author recommends for music teachers and caregivers of very young children to follow the stance of Holt to observe and recognize young children’s musical experience throughout the learning process. Here is the strategy. First, caregivers and teachers should prepare a music-rich environment for young children. Young children love to explore musical instruments and toy instruments. They also enjoy switching from an instrument to another instrument to try out and experience a different sound and feel. If there are 5 children, I would prepare 10 different kinds of instruments so that children can have a choice and experience different musical timbre. If there is no instrument as a school facility or cannot get them for financial reasons, you can always create the instrument with PET bottles and milk packs. Often we can recognize how young children imaginary play by using any objects to pretend them as a musical instrument. I also recommend the teacher to sing to them and perform any instrument of their choice. It does not have to be at a professional level, but usually, children pay full attention to the live performance. I would also use recordings by using iTunes, YouTube for them to listen to various kinds of music from classical to children's songs. Especially as a non-native English speaker, I use iTunes to play English songs so that Japanese children can acquire very clean English pronunciation.

Second, it is always recommended for letting children explore freely so that caregivers and teachers can have a chance to observe children’s learning. Before offering any instructions, I would highly recommend caregivers and teachers to observe children’s free exploration of music and musical instrument before feeding any instruction. It could be for 5 minutes or 10 minutes before the class starts or at the beginning of the class, but children can spend a much longer time on free exploration. Some Japanese children may be shy to explore freely, but once they experience the enjoyment, they would pursue them intrinsically and expand the challenges. If you are conducting a music class for young children, I would recommend implementing a responsive pedagogy. You can always respond to what you observe and how children learn and guide them for further challenges. Overall, music classes and musical environment at home must have music most of the time. Notice, very young children's exploration of small toy instruments, and the created sound and rhythm by young children can be considered as music.

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