Using Music to Support Children’s learning in a Holistic Perspective.
The importance of learning music for young children
A number of research literatures shown that the provision of music is one of the essential parts in early childhood setting (Bainger, 2010). Music is an innate interest for most children and is first of the multiple intelligences that becomes functional in most children (Lee; 2007, Lee, 2009). As Gardner (1992) stated that, “the single most important thing in education is for each person to find at least one thing that he/she connects to, gets excited by, feels motivated to spend more time with” (as cited in Leu, 2008, pg. 29). For many children, music would be the ability and interest they developed as a contribution to affirming themselves as individuals (Ministry of Education, 1996). Leu (2008) has suggested that several researches stated the most appropriate age for children to be receptive to music is the first six years of life. Children who has exposed to music in early years would be more likely to carry on with further musical involvement in later life (Jeanneret, 1997; as cited in Leu, 2008). Moreover, music also plays a great impact on children’s development which would influence them physically, emotionally and linguistically (Cohen, 1999). Gardner’s multiple intelligence suggested that musical intelligence is “the ability to discriminate pitch, be sensitive to rhythm, compose and produce music” (McAlpine & Moltzen, 2004, pg. 53). Children who have musical intelligence would be attracted to the world of sound (Cohen, 1999). Using music in early childhood setting can provide opportunities for children to experience music in their early life and be familiarised with basic musical concepts, such as melody, rhythm, tempo, pitch and tone (MacNaughton & Williams, 2009). Staff should apply singing, dancing and playing the instruments as parts of the programme planning at the centre. As a result, there are “approximately half of the talent in the New Millennium participants actively were engaged in music” (McAlpine & Moltzen, 2004, pg. 280). Early intervention would support children with musical intelligence to greater development.
To apply music into early childhood curriculum in a multicultural perspective Music enhances cultural awareness and is critical to life as it can bring people together (Cornett, 2003; as cited in Paquette & Rieg, 2008). Te Whariki (1996) stated that “children develop an increasing familiarity with a selection of the art, craft, songs, music, and stories which are valued by the cultures in the community” (pg. 80). New Zealand is a multicultural nation and children are exposed to an environment of different ethnicities in every day early childhood settings. They can know about others through music because they “get a chance to see beyond their own habits and own community and appreciate how others live their lives” (Nichols & Honig, 1997). Some evidence has shown that “babies are more open to the music of other cultures than adults” Tewart and Walsh (2005; as cited in MacNaughton & Williams, 2009, pg. 197). When children are exposed to diverse songs from different culture, they would benefit from learning the similarities and differences, discovering cultural diversity and to share their own cultural heritage with others (MacNaughton & Williams, 2009). It also nurtures a secure and safe feeling for the children when the music is linked from home to the childcare centres (Parlakian & Lerner, 2010). They would feel respected and appreciated of their own unique culture. As music is a vehicle through which cultures are conveyed, (Andang, 2009) staff should teach children songs that promotes the encouragement of differences, acceptance and cooperation (York, 1991; as cited in MacNaughton & Williams, 2009).
Music promotes physical development for children
In majority, children,...
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