Music is an essential part of a child’s early education, both in school and at home. The rhythmic nature of music is one of the primary ways children begin to understand patterns and sequence. Emotional expression in music helps convey feelings and stories to children in an immersive way they can grasp.
It is generally accepted that babies are cognisant of songs and music played to them in the womb, and music has the capability of soothing children who are frustrated with the challenges of learning difficulties. As humans, music is important to us, not only as something that helps in learning and understanding but as something that brings us joy, creative expression and social enrichment.
In early years education, children will begin to explore how certain objects make sounds, understand how basic percussion works, and learn to sing together. As children move on to primary school they will be introduced to more complex musical activities like creating musical sequences and learning to play instruments like the recorder, keyboard, ukelele, or drums.
Music Teaching Resources
In partnership with the Schools Music Association, the ISM Trust has developed the Music Toolkit as a resource for teachers of primary school years. The toolkit serves as a practical resource to help teachers learn how to integrate music into lessons and bring more of a musical approach to learning into the classroom generally.
The toolkit is split into six sections which cover elements of music like singing, improvisation, instruments, technology and composing. Practical resources include how to layout a classroom for singing activities, ideas for activity starting points like adding sound effects to a story, and simple ways of recording songs. Make sure your students have lots of opportunities to make music in the classroom with toys and instruments. A good starting point could be our 30 Player Percussion Classpack which contains an assortment of instruments from maracas, to egg shakers, to tambourines.
Bring the Noise is BBC’s extensive resource hub for free songs, music, lesson plans, activity ideas, videos, and downloadable worksheets. The hub is targeted at teachers and parents of KS1, and early years children. Bring the Noise hosts an interactive game called Play It which helps children to understand different elements of a song, and record their own which can be played back, an ideal activity for homework, or to use together in the classroom in groups.
Bring the Noise takes a wide approach to music, with resources that cater to children of all levels and capabilities, including SEND teaching guides and BSL songs for those with hearing impairments.
Founded by trainer and speaker in Physical Development and Movement in Early Education, Helen Battelley, Music + Movement is an organisation that helps children build confidence and social awareness through music and dance. The website contains a section of resources to assist teachers in creating music lessons and activities.
Multisensory music activities help children think about how sounds are made and encourage them to be creative. Many activities incorporate dancing or moving around, combining music with movement in ways that help children express the feelings behind certain sounds and pieces of music. One such activity asks children to listen to the sounds of thunder and rain with their eyes closed and then find ways to recreate the sounds or different types of rain and thunder, by tapping their fingers on the floor or with slow claps, for example.
Taking children outside to observe sounds in nature is an exciting way to stimulate the discovery of sounds and their sources. Supplement outdoors music lessons with outdoor music equipment and encourage children to combine and compare the sounds of instruments with the sounds of nature.
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A finalist in the Teach Early Years' Excellence Awards, Music Buds started out as “little ‘idea buds’ in music rooms and classrooms”, since then, Music Buds has developed a series of songs and musical activities for the classroom, led by musician and early years practitioner business partners Clare and Anna, even collaborating with BBC’s Bring the Noise.
Music Buds focuses on supporting teachers of early years students and those with SEND. Taking a coordinated approach to learning, by teaching music concepts by way of using music, and developing musical experiences while hitting learning objectives. Through the website, teachers can download sheet music and lesson plans, as well as purchase backing music and props to support activities.
Early years music should be about discovery and exploration. Children should be encouraged to explore how different objects make sounds and how to produce different types of music. Consider stocking the classroom with some sensory music toys like our Multicoloured Egg Shakers or an Under 3s Music Collection which contains shakers, rattles, drums, and castanets.
African Activities offer authentic experiences celebrating African music and culture throughout the UK. African Activities comprises a team of professional musicians who work in educational and professional settings with adults and children. One such activity is the ‘call and response’ session. This auditory learning experience is a traditional Ghanese activity loved for its power to unify people, raise morale and encourage a feeling of teamwork between those singing together.
Through the website, teachers and TAs can book a CPD session to learn how to lead a call and response session, or download PDFs which explain background information and the origins of call and response songs. Audio files are also available on the website, with several different songs to choose from and background sound effects to encourage children to get excited, imagining a setting in the monsoon rains or night time in Ghanese nature. If you really want to give your students an immersive experience, consider investing in a 30-Player Multicultural Basket of authentic African/Asian/Polynesian inspired instruments.
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This website is an excellent resource for introducing children to the ukelele, a simple and fun instrument that is accessible for young children to pick up. Ukulele teaching resources on Ukelele in the Classroom include quizzes and individual activities as well as full lesson plans making it simple to introduce students to ukelele even if you’re not accustomed to teaching it.
In addition to resources to be used in the classroom, teachers can access a blog on the website for guidance on different learning tactics, and a forum where account holders can pose questions and discuss anything related to teaching ukelele to primary school children. If you’re interested in offering your students the chance to play ukelele take a look at our Vintage Soprano Ukulele Class Pack of 20 to get started.
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Through Pro Cordia Music School, Create Together was formed as an educational programme tailored to children with SEND and those that require extra support when learning music. Following the national lockdown in 2020, Create Together, Wherever was developed as a remote learning tool to connect children and parents with Pro Cordia professionals to keep students engaged in music despite remote learning.
The live workshop takes place every Thursday and Sunday and can be attended for free. Students are guided through the session and encouraged to play musical instruments fashioned from objects found around the house and sing. Teachers can also download rhythms, lyrics and activity sheets from previous sessions to use in the classroom. Each session focuses on a song or songs from a film or play, Moana, Grease, Oliver!, and Toy Story, to name a few.
Charanga School of Music website is a huge and varied award-winning music teaching resource used by more than 48,500 teachers. Charanga covering all aspects of learning music from CPD and teacher training to instrument courses, apps, and a whole library of activities all created to align with the national curriculum.
Resources on the website are suited to teachers of all levels meaning both music specialists and beginners can find something useful. In addition to interactive games and activities children can use on the website, teachers have access to a complete Musical School Scheme features series’ of lessons for ages five to 11. Each lesson is explained in detail with support available through the website.