Engaging the Body, Mind, and Heart
Hopping, swinging, dancing, clapping – ten toddlers and their parents are totally immersed in the music at hand – feeling the pulse, hearing the melody and harmony, moving with their bodies in response to the dynamics, tempo, and expressiveness of the selected musical example. This is experiential learning at its best. This is the earliest level of “group dynamics” – students sharing in the joyful music activities which will impact their musical growth and understanding.
Make the group experience welcoming and fun. Parents and children share in the activities and become musical partners. This involvement gives the parent confidence to continue interacting musically with the child at home.
The “circle” provides a secure setting for most activities. Large body movement (walking, marching, creeping, etc) will take place out of the circle. This flow from one area to another keeps the class motivated and eager to participate.
Manipulatives such as hoops, balls, streamers, and small percussion instruments encourage involvement from even the shyest child. Make each child in the group feel special. Help them feel empathy for their class members. Many times the children and parents in these groups will become best friends and be involved with other out of class activities.
All of these obvious benefits become even stronger if the musical content is layered to develop concepts for future musical activities.
Fun and games can really have a purpose!