Let’s Make Music!

When thinking about early literacy development in young children, music may not be the first thing to come to mind.  But music plays an important role in developing the six early literacy skills that will later help children become great readers.  Music, especially singing, is a wonderful way to introduce phonological awareness and new vocabulary to children.  When we sing songs each syllable has its own note, making it easier for children to hear the smaller sounds in individual words.  Plus, singing a song like “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” introduces children to the magic of making animal sounds.  What toddler can resist a musical moo?

Many songs and nursery rhymes use vocabulary words we may not encounter on a daily basis.  And the more words young children hear, the easier it is for them to understand and sound out those words when learning how to read.  Music is also a great way to bond with babies and inspire a family dance party!

Last week during our Kids Create program at the Squirrel Hill branch, children in kindergarten through 2nd grade explored basic musical concepts such as pitch, rhythm, beat, and volume.  Stations were set-up around the room featuring a different musical activity at each station.  Children and their grown-ups made craft stick kazoos and bean tambourines, and experimented with a variety of real and homemade instruments including box zithers, sandpaper rasps, and spoons!  To learn how to make your own homemade instruments, check out the book, Making Musical Instruments with Kids by Bart Hopkin.


Children explore homemade sandpaper rasps at CLP – Squirrel Hill.


Playing the triangle at CLP – Squirrel Hill.

Another station featured two different iPad apps–Musical Me! by Duck Duck Moose, and Toca Band by Toca Boca.  Musical Me! is composed of a variety of games that focuses on teaching young children pitch recognition and musical notation, as well as rhythm and beat.  The Toca Band app lets children explore sounds and mix beats to create unique silly songs.

If you’d like to try your hand at making your own instruments or would like to explore music through stories, check out these great books!

-by Jessica, CLP – Squirrel Hill

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