Children Musical Education

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Children Musical Education Essay, Research Paper

A detailed synopsis of the guidance of young children from Absorption to

Purposeful Response. Early is the best time to start children with an enriched

musical background. The earlier the child starts to hear and learn about music,

the more enriched and fulfilling the child?s experience of music is going to

be. This is even more beneficial for talented children. A child cannot receive

the full benefit of music and will not learn as much or at all without the first

three stages of preparatory audiation. With this in mind, I will now show you

how to guide children through these stages. First of all, we need to look at

resources. For this particular situation, I will have two helpers, two rooms in

which to work (one is furnished with cribs, the other is mostly open space with

a carpet). Also, I will have a good sound system in both rooms (that includes a

tape player and compact disc player), and some money (available to buy

recordings and equipment). Next is the age range of the children. This is not

related to the resources, but important. The age range is between shortly after

birth and about 36 months (3 years). The first stage is Absorption. One of the

most difficult things to do when guiding children through these stages is to

know when the right time is to move them to the next stage. This often requires

much patience. The reason that you need so much patience is because all children

move through the different stages of preparatory audiation at different times.

The times when children move are as different as their handwriting. In the

Absorption stage, children are ?absorbing? music. But, not all music is

appropriate. Most of the music that should be played is live music. It should

also be played in different keyalities, tonalities, harmonies, meters, and

tempos. When playing such diverse groups of music it is also important to not

play music with words. Why you ask? Because if you play music with words. The

children seem to focus their attention more on the words than the music itself.

Out of the two rooms that we have, I would use the one room, which has the cribs

in it for the children in the absorption stage. This would be more appropriate

for children in the absorption stage than for children in any other stage

because the children in the absorption stage are the youngest. I am going to

give names to my two helpers so that we can easily tell the difference between

the two. The one helper that is going to be helping me with the children in the

absorption stage is named Mary. The other helper, which will help me with the

two other stages (random response and purposeful response), is named Peter. Mary

would be playing live music for the children. Live music and/or any kind of

music that you play for children must be pleasing to the ear. It is also

important that children hear a wide variety of instruments so they are

introduced to a variety of pitches and timbres. Another thing is that

children?s attention spans are very short. This means that it is best to play

only short sections of music or music with frequent shifts in dynamics, timbre,

and tempo. This encourages children to continually redirect their attention to

the music. Once you think a child is ready to go through the absorption stage,

than you can go onto the next stage, which is random response. But, before a

child can go through absorption you must make sure the child is really ready to

go to the next stage. On thing you do not want to do is to rush a child through

each stage. They must be emotionally ready. Even if it seems like they are

mentally or physically ready, you must wait. One thing I would do is start into

step two to find out if they are ready. If they are ready, they will start doing

things in step two. Step one and two overlap one another. The way I would be

able to tell if they changed is by looking at the different things they do

during this stage. In the second stage children begin to make babble sounds and

movements. These are not coordinated with each other or with aspects in the

environment and should not even be interpreted as an attempt by children to

imitate what they are listening to or seeing, or as a conscious response to what

they have listened to or seen. Adults guiding children at this stage need to

understand that at this age children simply have the need to babble. Another

activity that happens during stage two is group interaction. It is important in

this stage that children have this because children learn much about music as a

result of listening to and observing other children of similar ages as they

attempt to sing chant and move. One of the purposes of stage two of preparatory

audiation is to continue children?s exposure to music so that they will be

better acculturated to the sound of more complex music than in stage one. Even

another thing that happens during this stage is random movement that is mostly

associated with subjective tonality and subjective meter. Although they make

these movements, they should not be expected to imitate anything. Only the

natural sounds and random movements that children voluntarily engage in should

be encouraged. Children are still encouraged to listen to music as in stage one.

Except what is more valuable for them now is to make much body movement in

accordance to different songs. I would start (being the teacher) to sing and

chant to them. At the same time I would be making full use of my body. I would

move my body to the beat of the song or chant. That way the more children have

this kind of movement modeled for them, the more they will begin to experiment

with movement themselves. As in stage one, only short songs and chants in as

many tonalities and meters as possible should be sung and chanted to children,

and again, these should be performed without words or instrumental accompaniment

of any kind. Since we have some money to use for equipment, I might buy some

small instruments like a xylophone, wooden blocks, and an instrument that makes

a shaking noise of some sort. Then, after we bought the instruments, I would

chant something to them and then repeat the chant, but instead of going through

the whole chant like I did the first time, I would repeat parts of the chant and

ask somebody if they wanted to play an instrument. When I found three children

that wanted to play the three instruments, I would show these children how to do

each different part of the instrument. We would play the chant and the

instruments separately, then together using simple syllables like ?bah? or

?bum?. The thing that I feel very strongly about is not expecting much from

the children. We would try to sing the song and play the instruments, but at the

same time I would pay special attention to singing the song in the same keyality,

tonality, meter, and tempo. I wouldn?t be really strict about playing the

right notes or playing the right tempo. Just having the children experience

different things like that would be enough. Although it might not look like the

child would be learning anything, they actually would. Every little bit of

musical experience a child gets helps to exercise and tone the audiational

skills a child has. To help me stay in the same meter and tempo, I would buy a

metronome. At the second stage of Acculturation, consideration should be given

not only to children?s tonal aptitude, but also to their rhythm aptitude. In

addition to being concerned with tonal and rhythm aptitudes, parents and

teachers performing for children should pay greater attention to musical

expression and phrasing. A lasting impression can be made on a child?s musical

sensitivity through performance of chants. As in stage one of preparatory

audiation, unstructured informal guidance is the rule in stage two of

preparatory audiation. We don?t really know when children merge from stage to

stage. One thing we do know is that children typically enter stage three, which

is purposeful response, between the ages of eighteen months to three years old,

as soon as they begin to make purposeful responses in relation to their

environment. In this stage children should still continue to listen to songs and

chants with out words, because listening to songs and chants with out words is

no less important and maybe even more important in stage three than in stages

one and two. It is also important that children with high tonal and/or rhythm

developmental aptitudes, be encouraged to begin, but in their own initiative, to

create their own songs and chants. Also in this stage children start to sing

and/or chant with the parent and/or teacher, but the teacher does not expect

accuracy. In order to guide a child from stage two to stage three, you should

sing a song or chant, and if they respond to you with the same response, it?s

called purposeful response. Another way you can tell when a child is in stage

three is if they start to participate in the singing of tonal patterns and the

chanting of rhythm patterns. It is best to keep tonal and rhythm patters

separate during structured informal guidance for children in this stage. Adults

should not perform tonal patterns immediately after rhythm patterns or other way

around, but instead should perform one or more songs and/or chants between the

tonal and rhythm patterns. When children begin to sing tonal patterns in stage

three, they typically sing at the same time that the parent or teacher is

singing. But, adults should not expect children to be capable or even interested

in imitating tonal patterns with any degree of accuracy. When, however, children

in this stage spontaneously sing the same thing as the adult is singing, that is

a signal that the child is ready to make the transition into stage four. In

order for children to give meaning to the tonal patterns they are hearing, they

need to establish syntax. They begin to do this as they gain familiarity with a

variety of tonalities. Only tonal patterns in major and harmonic minor

tonalities that move diatonically (by scale?wise steps) should be sung to

children in this stage. In the classroom, have the children audiate different

tonal and rhythm patterns. When doing different rhythm patterns use your arms

and legs and move with the music and try to get them to do it with you.

Absorption, random response, and purposeful response are not all of the parts of

teaching children music, but they are the fundamentals. Without this guidance,

most children will not be able to go far in their musical ability.

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