by Author Natalie Chivers

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LSO Discovery: Repetition

LSO Discovery, the London Symphony Orchestra’s community and music education programme, has a long-standing early years strand and offers a range of opportunities in music for young children and their parents including weekly sessions, workshops and family concerts. This resource was created for the Youth Music Spotlighting module by Dr Susan Young, lecturer at the University of Exeter and Alison Harmer, film maker and editor, with the support of LSO Discovery.

The practitioner uses repetition to put people at ease and create a comfortable, familiar place which helps everyone engage fully with the music.

In the LSO session we see how songs or activities are repeated many times by Vanessa both within a session and between sessions. She often ‘stays’ with an activity so that babies, parents, young children really can engage fully.

To repeat an activity when working with young children may be intuitive and obvious, but do we stop to think why and how?

We may repeat a song, or an activity so that children can:

  • listen, learn & memorise (e.g. the words, the melody, the rhythm)
  • practise a skill (e.g. pitching their voices, performing a rhythm, moving in time)
  • engage fully in the music-making and enjoy being ‘in the flow’
  • extend the music-making by adding something of their own
  • take a turn at a key role (e.g. leading an action)

If you know why, then that influences what is repeated and how.

  • To memorise: repeating with a focus on just one part or one element (e.g. how the rhythm goes, how the melody sounds) and with attentive listening
  • To practise: repeating in a certain way to help the skill learning (e.g. doing it more slowly, giving instructions as the movements are being performed, checking the pitch suits the children’s voices)
  • To engage fully: repeating in a way that raises the enjoyment and energy
  • To extend and add: repeating in a looser way, with ‘gaps’ for children to add their own
  • To take a turn: repeating with individual children changing roles.

Click on the links at the bottom of the page to see more videos and notes on key aspects of the LSO’s early years programme.

Read the full LSO Discovery report