First Steps in Music for Preschool and Beyond:
The Musical Workout
The First Steps in Music curriculum is designed to prepare children to become musical in three ways:
- Tuneful – to have tunes in their heads and learn to coordinate their voices to sing those tunes.
- Beatful – to feel the pulse of music and how that pulse is grouped in either 2s or 3s.
- Artful – to be moved by music in the many ways music can elicit a feelingful response.
All adults should be tuneful, beatful and artful so they can participate in the music that is interwoven throughout our lives. Adults who are tuneful can sing lullablies to their babies, sing “Happy Birthday” to their children and friends, sing in worship services, and join others in singing ceremonial songs like alma maters or heritage favorites. Adults who are beatful can rock on the beat while singing that lullaby, can dance at their wedding or their friend’s wedding, and can clap their hands in time with others at a sporting event. Adults who are artful are moved by music and seek out venues to share artful experiences with others in concert halls, in community bands and choirs or listening to National Public Radio. Artful adults enjoy beig moved by music.
Adults who are tuneful, beatful and artful are also better able to participate in a community and are able to enjoy opportunities to sing together with others, dance together with others and share listening to beautiful music together with others.
Children who learn to be tuneful, beatful and artful before they leave elementary school will grow to be adults who can benefit from what music can offer. Those that go on to sing in choirs or play an instrument will do so in a more musical manner. Those that do not choose to later sing in choirs or play an instrument will still be enriched by being able to share music in their daily lives.
The First Steps in Music curriculum is a musical workout that grows tuneful, beatful and artful individuals There are eight different activities in each workout. And, like aerobics, in the beginning some participants will likely be clumsy in some aspects of the workout, but if they give it their best, they are bound to improve! And, like an aerobics workout, the more one participates the better the effect. Balancing repetition and variety is key to each workout being effective and interesting.
Following are the 8 musical workout activities.
- Pitch Exploration (Vocal Warm-ups)
- Fragment Singing
Call and Response Songs
- Simple Songs
- Arioso (Child created tunes)
- Movement Exploration (Movement Warm-ups)
- Movement for Form and Expression
- Movement with the Beat
There are aspects of tuneful, beatful and artful development in most of these activities but espcially tuneful are #1, #2, #3 and #4….especially beatful is #8 and especially artful are #5, #6 and #7.
Complete descriptions and many examples of each of the eight activities are given in the following pages.
This workout was designed to be effective with children starting at age 3 but is equally effective though the elementary years. In the second half of the book “First Steps in Music for Preschool and Beyond” three years of sample lessons are provided. The first year lessons could be used with three year olds but could also be used with Kindergarten or 1st grade children if they have had no previous musical experiences. The three years of lessons progress in difficulty, so begin with the first year lessons regardless of age and continue with the second and third year lesson in succession.