One of our goals as a school in 2020 is to introduce group music lessons to more pre-school children in Gauteng and, subsequently, further afield. Our Music for Minors Programme is conducted at homes, nursery schools or day care centres by specialised teachers who enjoy working with young children.
The formalisation of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), from Birth to Grade 0, is heartening. The South African National Curriculum Framework (NCF) promotes the educational philosophy of STEAM (incorporating science, technology, engineering, maths and art) in ECCE. This approach recognises music making as an essential element and a potent, exciting tool that enhances all inclusive development including cognitive, physical and emotional aspects.
Aside from children’s innate, spontaneous affinity to music, which can calm and initiate sensations of happiness, early musical experiences create awareness of the elements of the music like beat, rhythm and pitch. When listening to songs and music, babies, toddlers and young children store melodies, patterns and rhythms that provide the basis for singing and other forms of musical activities.
Body percussion including clapping hands, clicking fingers and stamping feet satisfies and thrills youngsters. Shaking percussion instruments or tapping out a rhythm can help children to feel in control. Instruments such as drums, rhythm sticks, wooden blocks, tambourines, triangles, bells, castanets, maracas and cymbals can be introduced. The correct holding and playing of the instruments depends on age and hand-eye coordination skills.
Exposure to music helps young children to speak more clearly, develop vocabulary and enhances social and emotional skills. There are correlations between musical perceptual skills and abstract thinking. Music making and listening improves memory as well as aural awareness for sounds and speech.
The Music for Minors Programme works with developmental milestones extending beyond enjoyment and building a foundation for musical appreciation. Our patient, sensitive teachers are equipped to offer young children joyful, specialised, meaningful musical experiences that are age appropriate and develop confidence, amongst many other skills.