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early childhood education

Parents are present in the classroom from the beginning, participating in the classes until the children reach age four. The pro- gram has a strong aural/physical founda- tion for tonal and rhythmic functions, and is filled with delightful songs and chants that move to the piano via a strong tonal/ harmonic, and rhythm/metric comprehen- sion. This is a strong Gordon/Orff/Kodály/ Dalcrose-based program that is packaged in a way that allows piano teachers to incorporate it into their studios following one, 30-hour seminar.

Marilyn Lowe provides a similar oppor- tunity in her Music Moves for the Piano series. Her program requires more exten- sive training, and is less focused on early childhood, but she also naturally involves parents in the child’s music lesson time.

Piano lessons with parental involvement can lead to strong parent-teacher rela- tionships that last far beyond the child’s preschool years.

The Daycare/Learning Center Model I began teaching early childhood music and movement many years ago because I needed to provide a fieldwork experi- ence for my undergraduates. I now teach infants through 4/5s each day of the school week. Now, when I observe Kindergarten classes, I am often surprised by how big and mature they look and sound. This, coming from the guy who once told his young wife, “You get them to 10, and I’ll take over from there.” (Fortunately, not all our 20-something ideas play out as expected.)

McGraw Hill’s Spotlight on Music, and non-parented classroom materials from several of the previously mentioned companies include rich materials for these classes. Early childhood music teaching can become disproportionately technical very easily. Keeping it simple, the day- care teachers who I serve truly love what I can bring to the children’s lives. Even more, the parents are grateful to know that their children are having good musi- cal experiences at school. Summers offer a great opportunity to connect with your

Wisconsin School Musician

future families through daycare music teaching.

Some ideas resonate naturally as soon as we hear them. More and more school classroom teachers are connecting with their families long before they reach school age by offering early childhood music and movement classes. Parents who learn to trust you from the beginning years

can become very strong advocates for your high school programs.

Rick Townsend is director of instrumental music and director of music teacher educa- tion at Maranatha Baptist Bible College. He also serves as managing director of the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association.

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