Teaching and Learning in the Early Years

By David Whitebread | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11

‘Can I play the drum, Miss?’

MUSIC IN THE EARLY YEARS

Jane Edden

The task ahead
It would be altogether too easy to be deterred from teaching music to children. After all, in an investigation carried out in a college of education, it was discovered that ‘By a wide margin…music is the subject in which most students have the least confidence as teachers’ and that ‘Some students thought that they needed to have musical skills customarily associated with music specialists, e.g. piano playing, fluent music reading and an inside-out knowledge of the Classics’ (Mills 1989). This somewhat gloomy picture is offset, however, by those who have faced the challenge head on, and in one case, emerged with recommendations from the county music adviser as providing good practice in the classroom. A teaching head in Warwickshire (Dancer 1991) who had ‘never been on a music course of any kind’, began her written guidelines with the words ‘You don’t need a piano, a guitar, a wonderful singing voice or a special room to enjoy music making with children’. Her commitment to ‘bringing children into contact with the musician’s fundamental activities of performing, composing and listening’ (DES 1985, p. 2) in order that they ‘can best discover something of its nature, its vitality, its evocative power and the range of its expressive qualities’, (ibid. ), serves as an illustration for this chapter, which aims to outline the ways in which the world of sound can be presented to young children in an exciting, meaningful and yet non-threatening way. It is also hoped and expected that, during this endeavour, students and other early years educators may very well rediscover the key to their own previously lost world of sound. As such, the chapter will address the following:
1 The recognition, exploration and manipulation of sound and the beginnings of composition;

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