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James Dickinson - Head of Hertfordshire Music Service

Children aged 0-5

If you are a Parent with a child up to the age of 5, an Education Professional working in a Childrens Centre, an Outreach worker, attached Health Vistor, Child Minder or work in the Foundation Stage, Hertfordshire Music Service can help you.... 

Music has an important role to play in child development and all the things that contribute to making a child ready for school and can contribute to all three prime areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) which are

  • · Communication and Language
  • · Physical development
  • · Personal, social and Emotional Development

Please explore this area of our website to find out more about how you can access support and what we can offer.

PARENTS
Are all children musical?

YES!!
All young children, including babies are musical, - they respond to sound by moving and using their voices in whatever way they can. Encourage your child by joining in, pointing out and imitating sounds and show that you have recognised and enjoyed your child’s response. Join a local music making group if you can, but make music a part of daily life at home and enjoy it together.

MY CHILD JIGS AROUND WHEN THEY HEAR MUSIC. WHY?
Moving to music is a natural response for all of us, - we just lose it sometimes as we get older. Steady beat and repeating patterns particularly make us move. It doesn’t matter what kind of moving it is, - if you encourage it and enjoy it together it will get your child’s musical development off to a good start!

I WANT MY CHILD TO APPRECIATE MUSIC. WHAT SHOULD WE BE LISTENING TO?
It doesn’t matter what kind of music as long as the experience is enjoyable. Find ways to respond to the music ….swaying (babies), dancing, clapping, making a story, asking what the music is like and how it makes you feel...little and often is the key, and remember that young children’s attention is not as long as adults’ so it’s fine to do other things at the same time. 

WHAT MUSICAL ACTIVITIES CAN WE DO TOGETHER?
It’s fun to make up mini songs about all the things you do together, playing with toys, mealtimes, getting ready for bed, going out in the car. You don’t have to be a great singer - just have fun putting words and music together.
Develop you child’s listening by drawing attention to the sounds things make, like a squeaky door or the scanner at the supermarket. Copy or talk about the sounds and make a game of it.
Use sounds in everyday play - you can make sound effects when reading a story, or when the child makes something.
A box of household objects makes a great alternative toybox for making sounds…a biscuit box, a wooden spoon, a saucepan lid, some scrunched up paper. Call it the music box - it may well be more popular than the expensive toys!

I HAVE OTHER YOUNG CHILDREN - HOW CAN WE SHARE OUR MUSIC? 
Get the older children to sing songs they know to younger brothers and sisters and to join in with ‘Time for bed’ or ‘What’s for tea?’ songs you make up.
Can they say how many sounds they hear on the way to the shops, or around the house
Turn a story into a play and use sound effects and funny voices. You will be developing your children’s creativity, imagination and confidence.

WHAT SMARTPHONE or TABLET APPS WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Apps are fun and technology is part of everyday life, if you can, go for things that encourage careful listening. But beware! ….of having headphones turned up too loud as young children’s hearing is easily damaged, and of isolating a child by spending too much time in headphones. Music is a social activity and so useful for making friends and family time enjoyable.

HOW CAN I STOP MY CHILD TINKLING ON THE PIANO AT A FRIENDS HOUSE?
If no-one minds, don’t stop it! Children love to explore sound and often don’t get much contact with live instruments. Talk about the sounds, and if ‘loud’ seems to be the only way, suggest some ideas for quieter sounds. Often the child will look for a reaction from you to playing really loud, but if you remain calm the novelty of this will probably wear off.
If you want some quiet time, make something else to do available, - distraction is always better than confrontation!

IS IT BETTER TO HAVE AN ELECTRONIC KEYBOARD OR A PIAN0?
From a musical point of view it doesn’t really matter for young children, but bear in mind that electronic instruments have a volume control and headphones if you need quiet for other members of the family

DOES MUSIC HELP DEVELOPMENT IN OTHER AREAS?
Yes! We know that music is good for learning to listen and concentrate, develop a good memory, cooperate with others, coordinate movement, build confidence and self esteem. Singing songs helps with language acquisition and expression - research has shown that many young children who can keep a steady beat can find reading easier. Music is a great combination of facts and feelings so it makes us use different parts of our brain.

This is a link to an interesting website run by Herts County Council

AT WHAT AGE CAN A CHILD START PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT?
When children have shown they enjoy singing and moving in time to the sound of music you might be considering giving them the opportunity to play an instrument.

Different instruments can be started at different ages because of their size and the ways they are played. If you need information you can contact your nearest Music Centre for advice.
There are some methods that specialise in early starts but in general many experts think that children can learn quicker by starting later. Their interest in, and enthusiasm for, singing should continue to be encouraged and there are many groups in Music Centres in which young children can sing.


The most important thing for 0-5’s is to make music fun and spark off a lifetime interest. Find out about music making sessions at your local music centre or in your community.

Several of HMS’s music centres offer activities for children - just look at their pages for more details

WATFORDSaturday Junior Music School Foundation class & Dalcroze Eurythmics

DACORUMNursery, Reception and Year 1 Music on Saturday mornings

ST ALBANSDalcroze Eurythmics at various times

MID HERTSMusic Jigsaw group on Thursdays at 9.30am.

EDUCATION PROFESSIONALS
How Hertfordshire Music Service can help you

We offer consultancy services and In-Service-Training

For more information, contact Jane Parker – Lead consultant for 0-5‘s music, via

Deena Day, Music Adviser
deena.day@hertfordshire.gov.uk

USEFUL LINKS

https://www.facebook.com/groups/preschoolmusic/permalink/717798858240707/

This group has over 500 members. It's fantastic. Folk post on there questions ranging from 'can anyone help with some ideas re reception class music and stories....(this had 10 helpful replies within an hour) to 'Where can I buy lycra?!'. Members on there range from PMCs like you...to childminders...to lecturers...to reception class teachers...to music coordinators... etc. It's now world-wide.....

Go....join! Enjoy!

 

http://www.musicfeast.co.uk/     This is ongoing.....and is only a small part of the work we have been doing in the east of England.....watch some of the videos!

 

http://network.youthmusic.org.uk/resources/resource-packs/tuning-children

Lots of videos of nursery and reception on here by the brilliant Nancy Evans