Music Playtime – let the music begin!
Thursday, June 4, 2020
Find out about a new resource to get children started on their musical journeys.
Most young children love taking part in music activities and music education is an essential part of Expressive arts and design, one of the seven Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Early Learning Goals set out in the UK guidelines for children up to the age of five years.
To help EYFS educators to provide appropriate musical experiences, Lancashire Music Service commissioned Music Playtime, a new online music resource that is now available worldwide. Music Playtime's varied activities fully satisfy the music-specific guidelines in songs and chants, making music with instruments, 'body sounds' and 'found sounds', dancing, experimenting and expressing ideas, thoughts and feelings.
Music Playtime is topic-based, which supports best practice in early years teaching and is very approachable for teachers who are not confident with music activities, although those who are will find lots of ideas that they may not have tried before. There are 15 topics, all favourites such as 'Dinosaurs', Pets and Other Animals and 'Ourselves and our Friends'. Each topic contains:
- introductory activities
- songs and chants
- skills and games
- creative music (exploring and making up music)
- listening, appraising and movement
- cross-curricular suggestions.
Through this range of activities, Music Playtime gently introduces the essential 'elements of music', such as tempo and pitch, offering clear and simple explanations for the teacher. If these terms are used in context, even very young children are able to absorb them into their vocabulary as their musical perception develops. Ofsted regards using the right words for the elements of music as essential right from the beginning, enabling all ages and abilities to start talking about music more easily and clearly.
The activities were tried out and evolved with the help of Lancashire primary school children, which is why the scheme took two years to produce! There are many helpful demonstration videos of the activities and the children who took part were not specially selected or pre-rehearsed. They were at various stages of musical confidence, some in their very first weeks at nursery school.
All the Music Playtime songs are singable by early years children and the demonstrations are sung by a child, making them more appropriate for this age-range than an adult voice. The following video compilation shows Forton Primary School children taking part in several activities based on the song, Rain, Rain Go Away. The children first sing the song, then clap the pulse, then clap the rhythm.
Music Playtime contains an optional, separate Key Stage 1 section, useful if a nursery is attached to a primary school. The complete resource has been enjoyed free by parents as well as educators during the COVID-19 outbreak.
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About the author
Sandy Holland has worked as a classroom music teacher in UK primary schools and has lectured in early years and primary music education at Edge Hill University and at the University of Cumbria.