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Music - Child initiated play. How do you organise this in a busy classroom?

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by KatieNeilson, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. We are trying to get the children initiating their own independent musical play with a limited collection of instruments, props, puppets etc in a basket. The idea is that each song in our repertoire has an item (or if no item a "song card"). The teacher models / teaches the musical activities then places items in the music area for children to use later. We are trying this because we now have about 50 children in one (large) space and having a huge range of instruments available at all times is not managable anymore. I am really committed to getting children to "play" with music independently.
    Any one got any other ideas?

  2. May2

    May2 Occasional commenter

    I am not sure what your main problem is. Is it noise level or too many playing there, or some other problem. We have a basket of only about 6 instrument which we change every so often and these are inside a play tent. It is restricted to 3 children at a time as there is not room for anymore. The tent keeps the music contained. We also have two large boxes of instruments for them to play outside and there they can play at marching bands etc or put on a show some are homemade shakers etc some are older bought instruments. We also have a 'Stomp' metal dustbin with lots of pans, tins and wooden spoons.These are on our rota of outdoor activities and come out about twice a week.
  3. Leapyearbaby64

    Leapyearbaby64 New commenter

    If they are not using it, having you thought that maybe it's in the wrong part of the classroom? I was involved in a project a few years ago to do with CD and the upshot was my part of the research was to create a performing area. It made a huge difference to how and when the instruments were used. We find that sometimes if we bring the instruments into a different part of the class, then different children will access them. I think sometimes you have to be prepared to put up with the noise!
  4. if it is noise that's an issue leave a small selection inside and have loads of opportunities outside. We have a wall with pans, pots, cups and tubs set in concrete and the children go wild with metal and wooden spoons, sticks etc....we also have pots with holes drilled in and straps to wear like in a marching band.

    If it's that the children aren't using them get them making songs/rhymes or instruments themselves or start a week where you focus on music/sounds. Go on a sound walk, listen for birds, "draw" the music, listen to music from other cultures..be robots...make space music...
  5. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Don't forget the rich opportunities pressented by classical music which, sadly, many children rarely hear. Let them dress up and play music on aCD player - good ICT there too.
    I used to start off narrating a 'story' as we danced,aking it up as we went along. You know the sort of thing. The children go for a walk in the forest. Oh no! They're lost and a storm is on its wa. They're very frightened but some animals see them and come and help....
    blah blah ad nauseam. You have to listen [and show that you're listening] so that you can gauge the mood. The children soon get the hang of that and willdo this activity on their own whenever allowed to.
    Choose your music carefully. Stockhausen might be a bit of a challenge!

  6. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    If you are wanting to incorporate using instruments into the children's play, why bother with the "modelling" and the cards that you mentioned? This might put children off if they don't feel they can repeat whatever it was the teacher was modelling (what exactly was it you were suggesting), or the particular thing the teacher was doing may not appeal to them, or it might limit their own imagination and what they might do with the instruments if just given a free reign.
    With the best will in the world I don't think all children would want to use this kind of stuff for a high proportion of their free play time, it's fun and creative for a while, but I think that even at 4 or 5 they know there is more to music than the limited bashing etc they can do and it gets draining even for them after a while!! Also, some children are desperate to rehearse and perform to an audience, so unless you provide the time for a performance to an audience, they'll lose interest.
    Outside sounds like a good idea from lots of different points of view.
    What learning objective are you trying to achieve?
  7. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Nursery children - well, some of them - love beating out rhythms on untuned instruments, and some of themcomeup with some pretty impressive, strictly rhythmical stuff.When they get together in little bands, the results can be impressive.
    oonly a masochist could consider this sort of thing going on non-stop all day indoors. Fortunately, after fifteen minutes or so, most lose interest, and ten minutes is a long learning time for a child. I've never minded putting the istruments out of reach when the noise level becomes unendurable.

    I often used to have music playing in our nursery.
  8. Thanks for all those comments and ideas.
    I don't really have a "problem" exactly - just interested to hear from other people. I like the idea of using different parts of the classroom and will try it. I agree that outside is good (instead of throwing out old sets of chime bars we have hung them up outside as wind chimes - and lots of other bits and bobs too).
    I think if you saw some of the musical games and songs we play then you'd understand why we do it this way. The children love the activities and it's been great seeing children develop all sorts of skills and confidence through little musical activities. One child hardly ever speaks in class but will happily join in and even sing alone in music sessions.
    We are using classical music and other music - all sorts really for movement / dance / role play and for playing along. Completely agree that children love responding to classical music.
    Love the idea of a performance space and will chat to colleagues to see if we can organise this.

  9. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Thank you, Katie, for giving me an idea fro a thread,,,

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