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Music for classrooms

  • 1.  Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-03-2022 09:28 AM
    Hello everyone-

    I was wondering how everyone plays music in their classrooms.  Currently, our classrooms use Ipods and uses bluetooth speakers.  However, they are a few generations old in the world of technology.  How do people play music?  Does anyone use an Alexa in classrooms or what device to you use for circle time music and listening throughout the day?


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    Carrie Wilson
    Assistant Director
    St. Anthony's Day School
    Alexandria VA
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  • 2.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-05-2022 06:07 AM
    Hi Carrie! In the room that I work in, we are still old schooled and use the cd player and radio. Sometimes we will use our phones and find music on YouTube to play songs the kids like or Spotify.

    Tonya

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    Tonya Burchard
    Woods Hollow Children''''s Center
    Oxford WI
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  • 3.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-05-2022 08:31 AM
    I use an Echo Dot (Alexa) in my classroom. I have multiple playlists for playtime, sleep time, etc. There are also some great stations I've found like Toddler Time and Disney Kids!

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    Jessica Beebe
    VCP Children's Center
    Vermont
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  • 4.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-07-2022 03:05 PM
    Hello Jessica,

    Are there ever any problems with children using the Alexa?  Or what are your rules when using it with children who are verbal and can talk to it as well?

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    Carrie Wilson
    Assistant Director
    St. Anthony's Day School
    Alexandria VA
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  • 5.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-08-2022 08:06 AM
    I do not have a smart speaker in my classroom, but I think it would be great for older kids who can request songs themselves. The account it was hooked up to would have to have some parental controls to some sure nothing inappropriate is played. It would also be helpful for the speaker to have a hat or glasses or something to signify that it is okay to play music at that time, or it could just be unplugged when you do not want it used. Waiting until the song that is currently playing is over would just be a matter of respecting everyone else in the classroom which should not be too hard as the adults demonstrate the same respect to the children.

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    Sara Peters
    North East MD
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  • 6.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-08-2022 08:56 AM
    A different perspective on music in the classroom: When music is playing, there is less talking. I love music. I also know music is wonderful to support learning or just for fun. But it should be used intentionally as part of the planned day. Background music can be like having a TV on in the background all the time - which is not part of a learning environment that supports high quality interactions. When there is no music, people of all ages are more likely to fill the silence with talking. In my car, I have music or podcasts playing every minute. I love it. Many of us do. But, just because I like it doesn't mean it's best for learning, interacting, and building social/emotional competence in early childhood environments. When there is music, it can be harder to hear specifics of what children are saying to capture observation notes. When children are learning a new language, high levels of background noise can interfere with their hearing and recognizing speech sounds in the new language. Children might like to request songs or use Alexa or Dot, but that doesn't mean it's best for them all the time. How do you set limits on the amount of music playing in your classroom?

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    Karen Nemeth
    Author/consultant/keynotes
    Language Castle LLC
    Allentown PA
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  • 7.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-08-2022 10:31 AM
    Since I'm in an infant classroom, I haven't had issues with children using the Alexa (although my kids at home have shown me those problems do come up!).

    I try to be intentional about when I play music in the classroom, and it's ALWAYS in addition to my own singing, dancing, and finger plays with my infants!

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    Jessica Beebe
    VCP Children's Center, VT
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  • 8.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-05-2022 10:30 AM
    We use Amazon Echos in the classroom. They are very convenient. One downfall is that you can't put in music that is not in Amazon Music library. For instance, you can't upload the music from your Christmas Progam to play through the Echo. We use CD players in those cases. Newer echos act as a Bluetooth speaker so you would be able to play those songs from your phone, etc.

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    Christina Bohlen
    Director
    Noah's Ark Christian Preschool
    American Cyn CA
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  • 9.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-05-2022 06:09 PM
    I use a blue tooth speaker and a district issued Chromebook. I use a free account with Spotify. I have been able to find music from most of my old CDs on the web. But I do not have a way to play CDs should I need to.

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    Helen Brown
    Berkeley CA
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  • 10.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-06-2022 10:16 AM
    May I humbly suggest that you all remember to sing?  As a musical specialist, I can assure you that children love love love love to hear the plain old human voice - and though i know many teachers feel that they do not have voices "good enough" to sing, that is a flat out lie.  We all sing "good enough" and kids love that.

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    Joanie Calem
    Music and Inclusion Specialist
    Sing Along
    Columbus, OH
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  • 11.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-07-2022 10:38 AM
    I feel that this is so true and so important. We are a language immersion preschool and we use a significant amount of singing and music to teach vocabulary and concepts in the target languages (Spanish, French, and Mandarin). I feel that our students learn best when our teachers use their voices to sing. When our families share with us which songs their children are singing at home, it is almost exclusively the songs that the teachers sing without recorded music playing in the background. It took me a while to be comfortable singing but then I realized it makes a big difference and is worth the effort. Thank you for reminding me of this! I love to hear it directly from a musical specialist.

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    Cristina Chapman
    Lead Preschool Teacher - Spanish
    Communikids Preschool
    Washington DC
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  • 12.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-08-2022 04:16 PM
    I love including voice and music in the classroom.  I hope to collaborate with music students from the university to introduce each instrument from Peter and the Wolf, one at a time.  I agree that live instruments and voices have a valuable impact for the children.

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    Heather Perry-Witt
    Early Childhood Teacher Aide
    City of Grand Junction
    Grand Jct CO
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  • 13.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-07-2022 12:02 AM
    Hi. My mom got her nursery school teaching certificate back in the 1950s. At that time, candidates had to demonstrate proficiency on at least one musical instrument to become certified. She taught preschool her entire career. When she retired, she went back to her school as the volunteer music lady because the new teachers were not confident about playing instruments and singing with the children. I would love to know if any participants in this discussion actually DID singing or playing instruments as part of their teacher preparation coursework.

    The value of playing your own music and doing your own singing is that you can adapt words to fit the languages and the topics of interest that are needed by the children you have.

    In the olden days of the 1990s and 2000s, there was usually a music stage at the NAEYC conference where beloved and new children's musicians performed live as part of the exhibit hall and got participants involved. Maybe going back to that would be a great way to elevate the importance of live, interactive music. What do you think?

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    Karen Nemeth
    Author/consultant/keynotes
    Language Castle LLC
    Allentown PA
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  • 14.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-07-2022 09:29 AM
    Karen I agree with all of this (my mother also had that same kind of training in her education degree) AND I know that music making has become a scary thing for many people over the last number of years.  People have internalized that they are either "bad" or "good" at music (which as a musician and educator I believe is totally NOT true) and therefore have been silenced.  So I would like to make the re-entry bar to music making lower and easier by just suggesting that teachers who do not have musical training or comfort, simply sing, without needing to accompany themselves on an instrument.

    As you say, when you are singing live to the children, you can create "zipper" songs where you "zip" in the lyrics that are applicable to whatever it is you want to be sharing with the children at that moment...either to a known tune or one that you make up on the spot.  Children delight in these on the spot songs.


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    Joanie Calem
    Music and Inclusion Specialist
    Sing Along
    Columbus, OH
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  • 15.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-08-2022 11:01 AM
    As part of  my Montessori preschool training which lasted 9 months, the trainer started each day with a new song. I sing when I can and both infants and toddlers love it.
    Susan Smith
    Heart and Hands Montessori
    Center for Infants and Toddlers

    office: 303-444-0181
    cell:    720-217-2359
    susansmith108@gmail.com
    www.heartandhandsmontessori.com





  • 16.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-08-2022 10:56 PM
    At the school I work at, we also start each day by singing songs. During transitions we sing, and I try to incorporate songs in play. For instance, we have a small  boat shaped toy that can seat two children, so I often sing "row row row you boat". We don't really use recorded music expect for at nap time, and occasional dance parties. When we do use recorded music, we have a bluetooth speaker that teachers can connect to. I think the bluetooth speaker is helpful because it allows us to take it outside without having to worry about finding an outlet or being connected to wifi.

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    Santanna Sumauang
    University of Hawaii Maui College
    Sitka AK
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  • 17.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-10-2022 02:07 PM
    Music is an important part of our day. I teach an 18-30 months old class. 
    The children get so excited every time it is time to sing and move around. 
    Nora Durham
    The Capitol School
    Montessori North






  • 18.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-09-2022 12:44 AM
    Hello,
    I love music and using it in the classroom provides a fun way for children to learn many concepts and the world around them. Music also provides a way to change the moods of those who hear and feel it and can really make transition times so much easier.
    Reading about how Karen's mother had to show a proficiency in at least one instrument to get a school teaching certificate in the 1950's brought up some memories for me. In (1984-1986)  I was working on my AA in Early Childhood Ed and two of the mandatory classes were in ECE music. In the first class, one of things that was required is that we learn how to play the harpsicord and part of the final exam was each of us showing we could play it while singing a children's song. ( I remember this well because I had to have to schedule a make up because my grandmother passed the day before the scheduled exam). A part of the second class was we got to go to the classroom with all the piano. The original plan was for us was to learn the keys of the piano and then learn to play a song on the piano. We did learn the keys on the piano and got tested on it but sadly didn't learn how to play a song. The college got an increase enrollment in music majors that year and after two or four sessions in that classroom, the music majors took over the classroom. That part of the final was replaced with having to find more songs to add to our music card file that we had been working on since the start of our first music class.




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    Laural Slayden
    Houston TX
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  • 19.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-09-2022 07:15 AM
    Thank you so much for everyone's input.  This is all very helpful.  As some of you said, i feel just singing has become a lost art when it comes to transitions.  It sounds like there are a lot of uses of music in one way shape or form.  Thank you again for everyone's insight and I hope that music is continued part of everyone's daily activities! :-)

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    Carrie Wilson
    Assistant Director
    St. Anthony's Day School
    Alexandria VA
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  • 20.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-10-2022 10:30 AM
    I agree with all the emphasis on singing! I treated singing like books, either I, or some students would just want to do it at any odd moment, even during a lull in outdoor play. A resource that helped me: The Neighborhood Sing-Along, by Nina Crews. It is a beautiful picture book, with photo illustrations providing interesting interpretations of the songs. This inspired the students' imaginations and created such energy around wanting to sing and talk about the songs. It only has words, but the songs and rhymes are common ones. (Use the internet to learn any you don't know.) I also made song books with the students where I printed out the words and they illustrated. We kept these books handy because we (teachers and students) tended to forget all the songs we knew and these homemade books both helped us remember and also joined us in a common culture. (Yay literacy!)

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    Karen Lefkovitz
    Independent Consultant
    Philadelphia PA
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  • 21.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 11-11-2022 11:00 AM
    Hi Everyone, I am a professor of music education and am SO happy to see this conversation! My students are all future music
    teachers who are dedicated to and passionate about the profession. There is a whole body of research with young children that
    shows that they are naturally musical and respond profoundly when the adults they love and rely on sing with them. The quality of the voice doesn't matter; it's the act of singing that does. Singing during classroom transitions is one of the best strategies
    that I used during the years that I was an EC teacher. So, in other words, I agree with you all. :-) I do have some books and
    resources to recommend for anyone who's interested. Here's my go-to list:


    1. Patricia Shehan Campbell:

    Songs in Their Heads (not specifically about EC but an excellent read about how children use music in their daily lives);

    I Can Make Music: Play-and-Learn Activities to Empower Children Through Music (lesson plans and strategies for parents but could
    also be for classroom use.);

    Music in Childhood: From Preschool through the Elementary Grades (lesson plans and strategies)
    .

    2. Lynn Kleiner and Cecilia Riddell: Kids Make Music: Babies Make Music Too

    3. Lynn Kleiner: Kids Can Listen, Kids Can Move; Toddlers Make Music! Ones and Twos!: For Parents and Their Toddlers.

    Music Together has some great resources: https://www.musictogether.com/. And West Music is a great place to get developmentally
    appropriate (and adaptable) rhythm instruments for reasonable prices: https://www.westmusic.com/. (Both of these companies may even
    be at the Expo. this year because they cater to EC teachers.)

    I hope this is helpful!

    Thank you for the discussion!


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    Elissa Johnson-Green
    University of Massachusetts Lowell
    Lowell MA
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  • 22.  RE: Music for classrooms

    Posted 12-12-2022 03:55 PM
    While Ipods and bluetooth speakers may be a few generations old in the world of technology, they are the most modern way we know how to share recorded music with kids in our preschool. We also have a smart TV to share music videos when a visual is desired. But I agree with others... singing with our voice throughout the day is the best!

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    Diane Eakes
    Director
    Tiny Tot School
    Bel Air, MD
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