The Amazing Human Musical Mind, Part 5
Part 5 of Mr. A‘s series about the effects of music on brain development in toddlers and young children focuses on work done by Susan Pascale, a former symphonic violinist and founder of the Pascale Music Institute in California (she’s originally from Long Island and her work is referenced in earlier parts of this series). Her institute provides musical classes to students of all ages in CA, and was founded when she moved to the West Coast and discovered that due to budgetary restrictions, there were no instrumental or orchestral classes available in which to enroll her young daughter, who had been studying violin on the East Coast.
After polling other parents and finding interest in such a program, she volunteered to teach a free beginner’s violin class for 6 weeks. 25 students signed up and by the holiday season, they played their first concert. This launched the LA Children’s Orchestra and her own method of violin instruction.
Although, as he states, Pascale’s information is geared towards individual parents, Mr. A’s article focuses on the classroom. He advocates putting children in the presence of music – especially live music. This includes examples such as having parents dusting off instruments and playing them for class, having teachers sing or bringing other family members, such as retirees who can play instruments, and having them interact with and perform for children. Recruiting music education students from nearby colleges is also put forth as a great suggestion.
He discusses both the concepts and logistics of making available various musical toys and reserving class time for their exploration – including toddlers and children under 3 years of age in this mix, and the importance of students participating in groups at a young age, so that they both encourage and inspire each other. He also mentions programs like Kindermusik, My Music Garden and The Music Class.
[edit 03.27.2015] Here are links to the other parts:
Yesterday, I began discussing an article by Pascale. I will begin today with that same article. Although Pascale was writing to individual parents, there are several points we can put to use in our classrooms. Put children in the presence of music. If you can, bring live music into your classrooms. It can be a parent who plays guitar, a teacher who sings a song, or retired uncle Joe who plays the accordion. If your facility is near a college, see if some music education majors can visit and play solo or chamber music for your class. There’s nothing like seeing and hearing instruments. Give your children the opportunity to hear live music.
Another point is to have a trunk full of music toys, and give your children time to explore. Let them touch, pick up, prod, poke and play toy musical instruments. Remember, if they push the keys…
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