Exploring Music

During our most recent Music Think Tank with Mr. T, a piano was reintroduced to the children. The children have a strong understanding of patterns using colors and sounds. To take our exploration one step further, the children were asked to create a pattern using paper and markers.

Over the last few months, the children have developed the skills to create sequences quickly and easily. The children’s marks have gradually improved with each pattern, becoming neater and more precise. Each key on the piano was labeled with a small piece of colored paper and once the children finished their sequences, they were asked to perform them on the instrument.

Before the children can play any key to create a sound, they must be able to identify, recognize and match the various colors. This sound-sight exploration has taught the children to do all of the above. Color recognition and name identification are both stepping-stones in childhood development. Early identification of colors helps to create the cognitive link between visual clues and words, engaging the child’s senses while enhancing their vocabulary skills.

Through this activity, the children learned that patterns are everywhere. They exist in colors, in sounds and even in behaviors such as daily routines. Understanding the importance of patterns, and how to identify and interpret them, is an important foundational skill for more complex mathematical, scientific and communicative tasks that the children will come across as their education progresses.

Sound Exploration

The following collections of photos illustrate all of the different materials we recently used to investigate sound. Our curriculum is heavily based on the “hundred languages” of children, or the ways in which children can express their perception of the world around them. Music is one of those languages. We also focus on experiences that excite students’ senses (sound in this case).

Using water bottle ‘shakers’ filled with different materials, we were able to talk about “loud vs. quiet,” or sound level and dynamics. The introduction of musical instruments allowed students to hear thumping drum sounds, the tinkling noise of the chimes and the knocking sounds from the wooden sticks. The children particularly loved the plastic colored sticks, banging them together and using them to strike different materials inside and outside of the classroom.

Hands on explorations of music and sound are extremely valuable because they provide students with an emotional outlet and tools for self-expression. Along with studying sounds, this experience also allowed the children to apply mathematical skills like addition (counting each time they hit the colored sticks together). It also allowed them to take note of the interesting exteriors of the instruments (discussing the different colors of the sticks).