A definition of music beats from Phillis Weikart, cited by Margaret Smith, KMEIA NSW newsletter, 2006 “Beat is the steady, repetitive pulse that occurs when a chant or rhyme is recited, when a song is sung or when a musical selection is played. Beat organises patterns of speech or melody so that people are able to sing together, play instruments together and move together.” p. 6
Young children feel and express the beat in a variety of different ways in early childhood music classes.
Babies are assisted to feel the beat when their carers rock, bounce and tap them as they sing and move to songs and music.
You will often see me in a group of older toddlers and preschoolers swinging my arms to and fro, twirling, bouncing up and down, tapping my knees, waving. At these times, adults model the motions for children to watch and imitate when they are ready. If you watch children, they will often initiate their own beat motions which you can copy also. This really is a wonderful way for children to respond to the beat of the music, it’s very enjoyable and easy to do. You can use any quality music including a range of classical music that you have at home.
These responses to beat are from the work of Dr John Feierabend who has visited Australia twice in the last decade. I have been fortunate to attend both his early childhood courses here. He is Professor of Music at The Hartt School of the University of Hartford, USA, and is widely recognised for his contributions to music education.
Children require regular opportunities to feel and express the beat in music classes. It is quite a challenge for older preschoolers to sing or say a rhyme by themselves and match the beat consistently, and they need lots of opportunity to do so.
These are fundamental music skills for the preschool child, prior to learning an instrument such as a violin or piano.Return from Early Childhood Music Beats to Music For Preschool Child
This article was printed from JillsMusic.com