“The fact that children can make beautiful music is less significant than the fact that music can make beautiful children.” ~ Cheryl Lavender
Years ago I began studies of music in early childhood, to become a better musician, to learn how to integrate music into the daily curriculum in meaningful ways…. essentially, to join my love of music to my work. The past several months have been a gift to me. I taught music to kindergarten children during the day, and in the evening showed pre-service early childhood educators strategies and possibilities for teaching music. Both experiences have given me the opportunity to share what I have learned, both with young children and their teachers, while continuing my own learning. It has been a wonderful journey, one that keeps broadening my horizons, and challenging me to bring creativity into my teaching.
I received the sweetest thank-you note from a child in my class, one who always seemed to really enjoy the music experiences. But really I should be thanking the children – for their interest, their enthusiasm, their curiosity, their participation, their ideas and their willingness to be subjected to my creative efforts. Things don’t always go the way I hope they will in the moment I am teaching music, but I get tremendous satisfaction when children spontaneously sing songs that they learned as they play, or ask to play with the instruments and props that are part of our designated music time. I realize that in their own time they remember what means the most to them, and they do use these new skills and ideas for self-expression quite independently.
It is never easy when the school year comes to an end. I had tears in my eyes during our last music circle, knowing these would be the last songs I would be singing with those children. Of course, all good things eventually must come to an end, but that does not mean that music making had to stop for those children. Earlier in the year, I got the inspiration to make a gift of some simple home-made instruments, which would allow the children to continue their exploration and enjoyment of music. They each received a coffee can drum, a plastic egg shaker filled with lentils, jingle bells made from dollar store pipe cleaners and bells, and a pair of rhythm sticks made from six-inch lengths of dowels. They also received little song books containing a few rhymes to enjoy. Hearing them tap their thanks on the drums was truly music to my ears!
I would like to thank friends at Kensington Hospice for accumulating numerous coffee cans for me (http://www.kensingtonhealth.org/index.php?page=hospice), and also the kind staff at New Canadians Lumber for cutting the dowels to my specifications
(http://newcanadians.hhstores.ca/). A special thanks to my husband, for sanding the ends of the dowels and making them safe for little hands. Thank you to my colleague, Mr. G, for supporting my efforts to share my love of music with the children, by giving me
needed time, and by joining in the fun. And to the children themselves, and their parents as well, the biggest thank you of all. I have been blessed with a year of making beautiful music, with beautiful children, an experience I will remember always, and for which I am very grateful.