Include Preschool Music Activities in your Homeschool
Introduce your preschool student to a musical instrument
One of my fears as a homeschool parent is that my child will miss out on opportunities that she might get in a traditional school environment. Things like live theater, dance, preschool music activities, group socialization.
Acknowledging that I am not a specialist in any of these areas, I am working hard to ensure that she has these opportunities. As I’ve read countless blogs, books and sites on the importance of learning at a preschool age, music constantly repeats as an essential theme.
We consciously schedule music time into our curriculum in several different ways, beyond our crazy dance parties. Those aren’t scheduled, they just happen spontaneously as all dance parties should.
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Most piano teachers won’t accept a kiddo into a lesson until 5, and honestly I wouldn’t want her to go to lessons now. However we found the most amazing program that you need to check out if you have preschool age students.
It’s called preschool prodigies and is geared towards students 2 years old and up. This is an online program with a library of progressive lessons starting at about 5 minutes each to accommodate short attention spans.
They teach on several different instruments, but the focus is on the desk bells. What’s a desk bell you ask? Don’t worry, I didn’t know either.
These desk bells are a set of 8 bells in the C Major scale that sit on the desk. Students are able to play along and learn to differentiate tones. (Side note – learn from my mistakes – desk bells are NOT interchangeable with hand bells, which are much more common…those things are LOUD and crazy!)
The larger design is great for little hands and the lessons are taught on a fun and cheery playground style backdrop by Mr. Rob. Think Blues Clues meets music. The bells are cheery, the songs are addictive and you’ll find yourself singing “If you want some sweet beats we got ’em” the rest of the day.
Early Learning Music Standards
Preschool Prodigies is largely a program for learning an instrument and for introducing tones early on. These are standards that are largely missing from early childhood music programs. While I personally do believe that dance and movement are essential to help preschoolers learn to express themselves, I also believe that there is a key piece of development missing.
As noted on the Preschool Prodigies site, the program presents meaningful play with pitch while children are still developing. The lessons are colorful and fun engaging even the youngest learner.
With subscriptions starting at about $15.00 a month it was an easy choice for me. Hey, maybe I’ll even learn piano myself by watching the lessons? 🙂
Check out the free starter lessons to get a feel for the program.
Dance and Movement
As you know if you are a frequent guest here on Mommy N Me Inc, I am a huge fan of the Mother Goose Time curriculum. Part of our curriculum each month is a dance n beats CD that coordinates with the theme of the month.
We have now acquired quite an extensive library of dance n beats disks that we put in the player during free play and house cleaning times. It’s quite sneaky, but I turn cleaning into a party. Hopefully the ploy still works when she is a teenager…
Additionally there is an add on bundle with a DVD that we have not explored but have plans to check out in the future. In the meantime, we’ve discovered that Dance N Beats has a free you-tube channel and we LOVE it!
Miss M is a particular fan of the Banana Boogie and Big Blue Whale. Through Dance N Beats, she is learning some essential movements and how to incorporate them into her crazy dance party routines. Expression through music and movement is essential learning according to head start standards and we feel like we are excelling at this here in our home.
This year we are choosing a Broadway Theater class for preschool at our local theater. If you live near a theater, chances are they have an education program as well.
We’re super excited for this class as we’ve been attending children’s theater shows here for several years. The class focuses on learning to express themselves through music and dance but in a less formal setting than a traditional ballet class.
My hope is that she will develop a lifelong love of music and dance and when she is older if she has a desire to join a dance class we’ll do that.
We are blessed to live close to a wonderful highly regarded children’s theater. If you don’t chances are there is a community theater close by. Worried that your little one is too wiggly for the theater?
Children’s Theater is specifically geared towards kiddo’s and is lively and full of movement encouraging attention. I found when she was younger that if we sat front row she was fully engaged. Often the cast member interact with the front row guests as well. I think they recognize that parents sit there to help retain attention spans.
Now that she is more focused, we are able to move back and have a better view and perspective of the entire show.
We make going to the theater a special occasion to help build that enthusiasm. You’ll find us dressed up rather than in shorts and we go out for a special treat afterwards. We always have a little cash so she can choose souvenir. Later she’ll find it around the house and we’ll talk about the show and experience.
The children’s theaters are wonderfully family friendly. No matter how wiggly, you shouldn’t have any reservations about taking your little one there. The treats and drinks are less expensive and kid friendly. No one will mind trips to the potty and singing along is encouraged.
Afterwards most theaters will have a meet and greet so you can get a quick photo with the cast members.
Our local symphony also offers community events focused on early childhood with themed kid focused performances. During the holidays you’ll be able to find a rich array of events that include music for the little ones.
Botanical gardens and the chamber of commerce often offer symphonies or concerts in the park. Throw a blanket and enjoy the music. Coffee shops often have an open mic night or scheduled performances.
Making purposeful time to include music is always beneficial for our kiddo’s but especially for quality family time and a well rounded homeschooling experience.
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How do you include music in your preschool homeschooling?