10 Steps to Successful Music Teaching in the EC Classroom Steps 1-4

The way you can measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Issue No. 1 – 30 May 2005

Welcome to the first edition of Kidz Newz.  This will be a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children.  Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to.

Feedback is welcome.

2nd Term PD File

Saturday and Sunday 4th & 5th June
ECCPA Conference Melbourne Genazzano FCJ College Cotham Road Kew – theme is Health & Wellbeing through the Performing Arts. My session is on Saturday. Book through the Victorian Orff Schulwerk Association at www.vosa.org or contact Glenys Gijsbers on (03) 9562 6122.

Saturday 25th June
9.30 – 12.30 Geraldton Grammar School George Road Geraldton. Fee is $55.00 including morning tea. Contact Marlene on 9325 1204.

Inspirational Message of the Week

“When you think you have bitten off more than you can chew, chew faster.” Anon.

Ten Steps to Successful Music Teaching in The Early Childhood Classroom
( Steps 1 through 4 )

Young children learn by doing, by being actively involved in their learning through exploring and experimenting, through copying and acting out. And so it is with learning music, the foundations for which are best learnt while developing primary language.  As such, a successful early childhood music program must incorporate movement and should quite naturally involve learning across the curriculum.  The music program, therefore, can form the basis for the whole curriculum.

 The next few issues will feature valuable steps to expanding your skills and enjoyment in teaching music.

  1. Make it Fun. They are not in your class to learn music, but learning music is what happens while they’re having fun. It it’s not fun you’ve lost them.  Fun for them may not be fun for you.  If it’s not fun for you, you’ll NEVER be able to convince them that you’re enjoying it.  You’ll start using every excuse not to do the music session because you’ll see it as a chore.  If, on the other hand, you have a song, a piece of music or an activity you think is really cool, you’ll have no trouble engaging the kids as your enthusiasm will carry them through.  Sounds pretty logical, yet few class teachers conduct music lessons as part of the daily curriculum.  Find a resource that suits you and do something every day – even if for only  five minutes.
  2. Establish clear rules from day one.  Without this your class will quickly disintegrate into a shambles.  They must stop when the music stops.  This encourages listening skills.  Listening is a skill that has to be learnt.  Hearing is a sense we are born with.  There’s a huge difference.  If they can listen, they can respond, and they can learn.  Teach them about “space bubbles”. Have them stand with arms outstretched and gently swing around.    No-one is allowed to go inside their space bubble.  Anyone who does must sit to the side.  They will not want to miss out on the fun so encourage them to join in for the next track of music or next activity.  Do not allow “time out” to be a preferred option.  Not every child will feel confident enough to participate fully but sitting out is not an option.
  3. Young children learn by doing.  Get them actively involved.  Music at this age is music and movement.  This will incorporate story telling through use of percussion instruments or drama; it will involve dance and action songs and also singing.  It will also involve interpretive movement – play some gentle classical music and use scarves to stimulate the imagination.
  4. Include motor co-ordination activities. This will stimulate and integrate right and left sides of the brain.  Musical instruments are played with both hands.  This subject is the topic of a great body of research.  Children today are generally not physically active enough to get sufficient stimulation to establish neural pathways. If you can do something daily in the way of motor skills, especially cross-patterning activities conducted to music, it will help enormously.  I will keep you posted on the latest research from “Move to Learn” in conjunction with University of Sydney.


This is from my son Tim when he was aged 4.

Daddy’s 33. When I’m 6 he’ll be about 100.

Buckets of Time – Clyde Adams

There’s a product that I’m hooked on
And I’ll need for evermore
That’s delivered every morning
In a bucket by my door.

It matters not which town I’m in
Or wherever I may go
Every morning when I step outside
It’ll be there – this I know.

Sometimes I use it wisely
Maybe slowly, or in haste
Sometimes I just abuse it
And the whole lot goes to waste.

But regardless, I’m rewarded
Every morning when I see
My four and twenty hours
In that bucket there for me.

For that’s exactly what we’re given
No matter what’s just passed
To use them as we please to –
Maybe waste – or make them last.

Yes, that’s how it is for all of us
Until that fatal day
When we fall and kick the bucket
And our time just runs away.


“Fantastic.  I have a lot of ideas to use with my 3-5 year-olds.  Would recommend this to anyone working with young children.”

Roz Brabazon – Collie

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she has taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. These books are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ programme.

57 Henry Lawson Walk, East Perth WA 6004
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: 0410 64 2781 E: info@kidzfizbiz.com

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