Essay, Research Paper: Children Musical Education


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A detailed synopsis of the guidance of young children from Absorption to
Purposeful Response. Early is the best time to start children with an enriched
musical background. The earlier the child starts to hear and learn about music,
the more enriched and fulfilling the child’s experience of music is going to
be. This is even more beneficial for talented children. A child cannot receive
the full benefit of music and will not learn as much or at all without the first
three stages of preparatory audiation. With this in mind, I will now show you
how to guide children through these stages. First of all, we need to look at
resources. For this particular situation, I will have two helpers, two rooms in
which to work (one is furnished with cribs, the other is mostly open space with
a carpet). Also, I will have a good sound system in both rooms (that includes a
tape player and compact disc player), and some money (available to buy
recordings and equipment). Next is the age range of the children. This is not
related to the resources, but important. The age range is between shortly after
birth and about 36 months (3 years). The first stage is Absorption. One of the
most difficult things to do when guiding children through these stages is to
know when the right time is to move them to the next stage. This often requires
much patience. The reason that you need so much patience is because all children
move through the different stages of preparatory audiation at different times.
The times when children move are as different as their handwriting. In the
Absorption stage, children are “absorbing” music. But, not all music is
appropriate. Most of the music that should be played is live music. It should
also be played in different keyalities, tonalities, harmonies, meters, and
tempos. When playing such diverse groups of music it is also important to not
play music with words. Why you ask? Because if you play music with words. The
children seem to focus their attention more on the words than the music itself.
Out of the two rooms that we have, I would use the one room, which has the cribs
in it for the children in the absorption stage. This would be more appropriate
for children in the absorption stage than for children in any other stage
because the children in the absorption stage are the youngest. I am going to
give names to my two helpers so that we can easily tell the difference between
the two. The one helper that is going to be helping me with the children in the
absorption stage is named Mary. The other helper, which will help me with the
two other stages (random response and purposeful response), is named Peter. Mary
would be playing live music for the children. Live music and/or any kind of
music that you play for children must be pleasing to the ear. It is also
important that children hear a wide variety of instruments so they are
introduced to a variety of pitches and timbres. Another thing is that
children’s attention spans are very short. This means that it is best to play
only short sections of music or music with frequent shifts in dynamics, timbre,
and tempo. This encourages children to continually redirect their attention to
the music. Once you think a child is ready to go through the absorption stage,
than you can go onto the next stage, which is random response. But, before a
child can go through absorption you must make sure the child is really ready to
go to the next stage. On thing you do not want to do is to rush a child through
each stage. They must be emotionally ready. Even if it seems like they are
mentally or physically ready, you must wait. One thing I would do is start into
step two to find out if they are ready. If they are ready, they will start doing
things in step two. Step one and two overlap one another. The way I would be
able to tell if they changed is by looking at the different things they do
during this stage. In the second stage children begin to make babble sounds and
movements. These are not coordinated with each other or with aspects in the
environment and should not even be interpreted as an attempt by children to
imitate what they are listening to or seeing, or as a conscious response to what
they have listened to or seen. Adults guiding children at this stage need to
understand that at this age children simply have the need to babble. Another
activity that happens during stage two is group interaction. It is important in
this stage that children have this because children learn much about music as a
result of listening to and observing other children of similar ages as they
attempt to sing chant and move. One of the purposes of stage two of preparatory
audiation is to continue children’s exposure to music so that they will be
better acculturated to the sound of more complex music than in stage one. Even
another thing that happens during this stage is random movement that is mostly
associated with subjective tonality and subjective meter. Although they make
these movements, they should not be expected to imitate anything. Only the
natural sounds and random movements that children voluntarily engage in should
be encouraged. Children are still encouraged to listen to music as in stage one.
Except what is more valuable for them now is to make much body movement in
accordance to different songs. I would start (being the teacher) to sing and
chant to them. At the same time I would be making full use of my body. I would
move my body to the beat of the song or chant. That way the more children have
this kind of movement modeled for them, the more they will begin to experiment
with movement themselves. As in stage one, only short songs and chants in as
many tonalities and meters as possible should be sung and chanted to children,
and again, these should be performed without words or instrumental accompaniment
of any kind. Since we have some money to use for equipment, I might buy some
small instruments like a xylophone, wooden blocks, and an instrument that makes
a shaking noise of some sort. Then, after we bought the instruments, I would
chant something to them and then repeat the chant, but instead of going through
the whole chant like I did the first time, I would repeat parts of the chant and
ask somebody if they wanted to play an instrument. When I found three children
that wanted to play the three instruments, I would show these children how to do
each different part of the instrument. We would play the chant and the
instruments separately, then together using simple syllables like “bah” or
“bum”. The thing that I feel very strongly about is not expecting much from
the children. We would try to sing the song and play the instruments, but at the
same time I would pay special attention to singing the song in the same keyality,
tonality, meter, and tempo. I wouldn’t be really strict about playing the
right notes or playing the right tempo. Just having the children experience
different things like that would be enough. Although it might not look like the
child would be learning anything, they actually would. Every little bit of
musical experience a child gets helps to exercise and tone the audiational
skills a child has. To help me stay in the same meter and tempo, I would buy a
metronome. At the second stage of Acculturation, consideration should be given
not only to children’s tonal aptitude, but also to their rhythm aptitude. In
addition to being concerned with tonal and rhythm aptitudes, parents and
teachers performing for children should pay greater attention to musical
expression and phrasing. A lasting impression can be made on a child’s musical
sensitivity through performance of chants. As in stage one of preparatory
audiation, unstructured informal guidance is the rule in stage two of
preparatory audiation. We don’t really know when children merge from stage to
stage. One thing we do know is that children typically enter stage three, which
is purposeful response, between the ages of eighteen months to three years old,
as soon as they begin to make purposeful responses in relation to their
environment. In this stage children should still continue to listen to songs and
chants with out words, because listening to songs and chants with out words is
no less important and maybe even more important in stage three than in stages
one and two. It is also important that children with high tonal and/or rhythm
developmental aptitudes, be encouraged to begin, but in their own initiative, to
create their own songs and chants. Also in this stage children start to sing
and/or chant with the parent and/or teacher, but the teacher does not expect
accuracy. In order to guide a child from stage two to stage three, you should
sing a song or chant, and if they respond to you with the same response, it’s
called purposeful response. Another way you can tell when a child is in stage
three is if they start to participate in the singing of tonal patterns and the
chanting of rhythm patterns. It is best to keep tonal and rhythm patters
separate during structured informal guidance for children in this stage. Adults
should not perform tonal patterns immediately after rhythm patterns or other way
around, but instead should perform one or more songs and/or chants between the
tonal and rhythm patterns. When children begin to sing tonal patterns in stage
three, they typically sing at the same time that the parent or teacher is
singing. But, adults should not expect children to be capable or even interested
in imitating tonal patterns with any degree of accuracy. When, however, children
in this stage spontaneously sing the same thing as the adult is singing, that is
a signal that the child is ready to make the transition into stage four. In
order for children to give meaning to the tonal patterns they are hearing, they
need to establish syntax. They begin to do this as they gain familiarity with a
variety of tonalities. Only tonal patterns in major and harmonic minor
tonalities that move diatonically (by scale–wise steps) should be sung to
children in this stage. In the classroom, have the children audiate different
tonal and rhythm patterns. When doing different rhythm patterns use your arms
and legs and move with the music and try to get them to do it with you.
Absorption, random response, and purposeful response are not all of the parts of
teaching children music, but they are the fundamentals. Without this guidance,
most children will not be able to go far in their musical ability.
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