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Times of day to play music

  • 1.  Times of day to play music

    Posted 08-23-2019 03:39 PM
    The thread about what type of music you play brings up the question:

    What times of day do you play music? 

    I use music during clean up time and during our morning meeting for dancing or as part of a game. Occasionally, if the number of students  is low, I'll play gentle, melodic music (from a variety of backgrounds) during free play. When I sense the energy level rising, or if additional students enter the room I usually have to turn off the tunes. 

    I generally don't have music going during free play. I have one speaker and if music is loud enough to be heard during free play then it's way, way too loud in the area where the speaker is. 

    For some kiddos (and adults) that amount auditory input is just too much  Some kiddos ask for the music to be turned down, others may begin displaying challenging behaviors. 

    Do you play music during free play when the room is already loud and busy with 16 little bodies playing?

    If so, how do you manage that?

  • 2.  RE: Times of day to play music

    Posted 08-24-2019 12:41 AM
    That's a great question! I play music during rest time and wake up time as we are a full day (8:25-3:10) preschool program. I also play music when we are in the gym. There,  I use artists like Ella Jenkins, Hap Palmer, Jim Gill, and Miss Carol (from Macaroni Soup). I also incorporate a music time in my circle time. Occasionally I will play music at arrival time or at the end of the day, but often it's too loud during free play time.

    Heather Finnegan
    Preschool Teacher
    Our Redeemer Lutheran Church with School
    Delavan WI

  • 3.  RE: Times of day to play music

    Posted 08-24-2019 09:14 AM
    Our world is very noisy and I agree with you Beth that music is often overwhelming when played loud enough to be heard over the normal noise level of an active preschool classroom during free play.  It also affects how kids talk to each other because they will end up yelling to be heard. As a musician it makes me sad when music is used as one more loud background noise that keeps people from communicating and bombards their senses, when it's main purpose is to either be listened to or participated in. Teaching kids transition songs and songs during circle time and using music to either calm down or wake kids up makes sense, but when it's used just as background it ends up being harmful...IMHO.

    Joanie Calem
    Columbus OH

  • 4.  RE: Times of day to play music

    Posted 08-24-2019 02:51 PM
    Interesting question!
    I definitely think there is a difference in playing background music and in playing music that is central to the activity.i strongly encourage preschool teacher to have moments throughout the day when music plays a central role. Hello, good bye & clean up songs, songs at circle time, and musical activities during group activities, like freeze dance, parachute play, and sing around the rossie, are all great ways to bring music into every day  preschool activities.

    Passive listening times in preschool can be nap & rest times, but typically not freeplay. An interesting time to use passive, background music might be during book & puzzle play time that preschool teachers often use following snack or lunch in order to give slow eaters time to finish without leaving quick eaters too bored sitting at the table.  I would not play music during the main meal time, as this interrupts conversation time, just at the tail end. I have see a lot of mischief making during book and puzzle time, as many children get bored with puzzles, and book time can often Segway into "partner-play" that can easily become a source of conflict. Quiet music or taped stories might give children a little more structure during this tricky time.

    one more time to experiment with passive music might be during quiet, focused play time. For example, putting on soft, classical or other onvocal music while children are painting or drawing might be a fun way to see of the music " colors" the artwork!

    I agree that playing music during freeplay time easily becomes overwhelming.

    One more encouragement for preschool teachers, take out the instruments during group activity times at least once a week! I know it can be challenging- how do we share, how to we take turns, how to we play in rhythm? 5 minute play-alongs to taped music are great for this. Clear out you instrument boxes and have groups of identical instruments, say 3 or 4 of the same type drums, shakers, bells, and more than enough instruments for everyone to play one, let the children play, switch and trade freely during the song by putting the instruments in the middle of the circle. You may find drums are really popular so you need to have 6 or more. Choose instruments that are easy to play and hard to break.  At first, you will have squabbles, but soon they will learn the routine and relax more about sharing and turn taking. With older children you should set expectations for how to share before hand. Remember to have at least one teacher playing along with the kids to lead by example. You can switch around music to work with monthly themes if you like. You can even have a couple different types of instrument boxes, from real instruments to every day objects that make fun instrument ( pot and pans and kitchen stuff foe example, maybe scarves if you want to encourage movement, maybe beach-y things shaped like sea creatures of shell instruments, maybe rain forest inspired instruments with rain sticks and wooden frog croakers, etc). Let music be your magic carpet to places all around the world with songs and instruments from the same culture paired... the variations are endless. Don't worry about tempo, try not to worry too much about it being too loud, just give room from noise sensitive kids to move away, and make sure they know coving there ears and moving away is ok, but yelling "quiet" or " too noisy " only makes it louder. This musical play time should be guided play, not instruction.
    thanks for all the wonderful sharing

    Margro Purple
    Rockville MD

  • 5.  RE: Times of day to play music

    Posted 08-25-2019 12:31 PM
    As I sit hear writing this, I have background music on. It's not blasting loud, and it's something that I can either focus on, or let blend into the cacophony of life's random noises.  And as someone on the spectrum, with an auditory sensitivity, having something with a steady rhythm and melody in that blend, helps me stay centered and calm.

    Of course having fun songs as a group activity can be great.  Of course having meaningful songs to start and close the day can be great. And I certainly believe that having an assortment of music playing as a background during free play can be a benefit to many.  For those who are overwhelmed by sounds in the classroom, be it music or the general clatter, we have a basket of noise canceling ear muffs available.

    James Mitchell
    Silver Spring Nursery School
    Takoma Park MD

  • 6.  RE: Times of day to play music

    Posted 08-25-2019 12:50 PM
    James you have brought up a fascinating aspect of all of this....for you, as a person on the spectrum with auditory sensitivity, having back ground music is very helpful.  For my son and many of my students on the spectrum with auditory sensitivity, background music made them crazy, igniting all kinds of aggressive, angry behavior.

    That is in a nutshell the challenge of sensory processing in a classroom: how one thing can help some people but agitate others.  Finding the middle ground that works for everyone is super important, and of course changes from year to year as the sensory make-up of any classroom changes.

    We have fascinating jobs!!

    Joanie Calem
    Columbus OH

  • 7.  RE: Times of day to play music

    Posted 08-26-2019 12:39 PM

    What a great discussion!  I agree with those who have suggested that playing music during free play can be counter-productive as it can cause some sensory overload in some children and be simply too loud for peer-to-peer interactions.  Playing music during free play also prevents play in the music center.  If you have a music area, then recorded music might be played to dance, sing along, or play along to, but it will be chosen by the children.  Of course, this presupposes that the children have access to some recordings and something to play them on and can operate the device independently. 

    Several posters already identified wonderful opportunities for incorporating music: transitions from one activity to another, practicing executive functioning skills (impulse control, sharing, etc), signaling requested actions such as cleaning up, enhancing circle time, or as an intentional stimulus for process art.  

    For some children, the addition of music in learning social-emotional or academic skills can open up a whole new arena of learning and processing.  Music's inherent power comes from the ability of melody and harmony to attract attention and beat and rhythm to organize the auditory input into something the brain can process.  

    I really hope this conversation continues! 

    Carol Ann Blank
    Music Together LLC
    Hopewell NJ