Dalcroze and Under-5s
Babies and young children can communicate through music even before other means of communication have developed, and using movement to express music is an innate and natural language for them. In fact, it is difficult to prevent a child from moving! Activity based on Dalcroze principles encourages learning about music through movement, but also reaches far beyond musical development, supporting the physical, emotional and social development of young children and babies.
Participating children experience musical concepts through games and activities - pulse; pitch; duration and tempo; accent; silence; energy and release; dynamics; phrasing; articulation; and sustained legato are all introduced. Activity promotes an awareness of tension and relaxation, and a love of movement. Games are used to improve co-ordination, a sense of pulse and rhythm and also a child’s ability to concentrate, listen intently and work in a group. The net result is a growth of confidence in the child, and a nurturing of the ability to feel music with the whole body, developing auditory memory and communication and expression. A strong sense of pitch is developed through a technique called ‘solfa,’ starting with the easiest of intervals, the minor third, upon which many nursery rhymes are based. Building up the range of the voice gradually, the child develops a keen sense of intonation, a confident singing voice and the vital musical skill of inner hearing.
Many of the aims of the Foundation Stage Curriculum are fulfilled in this kind of activity. Apart from an obvious growth in musical ability and awareness, children develop in the following extra curricular areas identified in the document:
- Personal, social and emotional development
- Communication, language and literacy
- Mathematical development
- Knowledge and understanding of the world
- Physical development