Responding to children's group musical play with instruments

  • by Anonymous (not verified)

    Wednesday, 16 September, 2015 - 16:02

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Waypointwaypoint/allow-group-play-emergeAllow group play to emerge877.0143.0""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/adult-support-roleAdult support role906.0787.0""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/sustaining-group-playSustaining group play24.0789.0""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/go-back-13Go back3.03.0""#0000002

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Allow group play to emerge

Often in a play situation, what starts off as a musical interaction with one child can quickly develop into a group as other children gravitate towards the action. Or, the day can start with a group of children in the music area. This poses both challenges and opportunities. Here the adult can intervene sensitively to help children share their ideas with each other. Like many things it takes practice to manage these situations effectively and what can be achieved differs greatly with the number and age of the children. What frequently happens is either there is one ‘main’ conversation and other smaller conversations or all playing together following one child’s idea at a time.

In the video below, observe how 'D' invites 'R' to join him, how the children synchronise their musical ideas with each other, how the beaters are part of their ideas and how movement is also part of their music play:


Adult support role

The adult can;

  • Join in with a particular child’s idea that emerges. Exaggerating it or drawing attention verbally encourages other children to join in with it.
  • Ask the other children to listen to another child’s musical idea
  • Ask the children to join in with that child’s musical idea
  • Ask the children to one at time copy that child’s idea
  • Ask another child for a different idea and so on around the circle
  • Bring back ideas from before (from that session and previous ones)
  • Ask one child to lead stopping and starting the music

In the video below notice how the children stop and start together. How many different musical gestures do you see/hear? Observe how music play and movement play are woven together:


Sustaining group play

As well as sustaining the children’s music play it is important here to encourage a sense of ‘being a band’ and make sure everyone is included and listened too. Sometimes just a glance and saying someone’s name keeps the child’s focus with the group. This leads to and nurtures:

  • a shared (co-constructed) collection of musical gestures and ways of working together
  • children feeling they have permission to invent
  • children feeling that their ideas are valued
  • children creating more and more ideas
  • a sense of being part of a ‘music ensemble’
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