Smitty’s MusEd Corner

Music Education and Music Technology in a college student’s life.

Early Education Center Visit

Hello Folks:

One on-campus feature of Grove City College’s Education Department, is the availability of a pre-school.  This pre-school is referred to as the Early Education Center, or just EEC.  Here, many Early Childhood Education majors get the experience of what teaching children as young as four years old would entail.  Four times this year, the music education majors have gotten the same experience that would, for me at least, would last a life time.

I know only being a junior in college, nor will I ever be, am not an expert in teaching.  What I have to offer can be helpful to many teachers to be.  I know this much: keep them interested, moving and in line.  On Preschool Express, I found many great ideas for teaching very young students.  They have a lot of songs to sing, activities and learning ideas to incorporate in the classroom. 

The students need to be moving around.  It is impossible to keep the students in one spot and expect them to listen and actually gain something from the lesson.  I found these articles helpful in finding a way to help the students move in class.  The EEC came to visit the Music and Fine Arts building and I along with my group introduced the auditorium to the students.  One activity we did with them is we told the story of Sleeping Beauty.  One special idea we had was having the story “produce sounds” when a word appeared.  So we had the students say “ouch” when the story teller said “needle” and had the kids snore when “sleep” was read.  This kept the students interested during this long of a story and kept them motivated to be involved.music-education.jpg

On their first, along with my first encounter with the EEC, we played with Boom Whackers and rhythms sticks [Boom Whackers are pieces of pipe when struck they produce certain pitches].  The Boom Whacker song played and when a color was sung, the students had to recognize this color in order to play with the Boom Whackers.  This article had a few good points on rhythms in preschool.  Myself and my partner agreed along with the article that rhythms helps the students be creative and show emotion.  Therefore, we had the students sit in a circle with two rhythm sticks.  From there, we played rhythms for them to repeat to us.   Also, we had a few students create rhythms for the group to repeat back.

When I actually visited the EEC to teach them This Old Man, I was amazed as to what happened.  I taught, as well as my teaching partner, the first three verses.  I also cross-referenced counting with the song.  Children love to sing.  From the Creative Institute, I learned “They like songs that repeat words and melodies, rhythms with a definite beat and words that ask them to do things. Preschool children enjoy nursery rhymes and songs about familiar things like toys, animals, play activities, and people.”  This is why I chose to teach them the song This Old Man .  The song has a strophic melody, using the same music accompaniment with different lyrics as a hymn in church, with a reoccurring melody in the refrain.  Each different time we sang the song, we added a number along with some body part that rhymed with that number [1 thumb, 2 shoe, 3 knee, etc…]. 

Finally, a music educator must know how to teach.  This may sound redundant, but teaching takes a certain personality that not everyone possesses.  My good friend Brittany Baker also agrees.  The hardest part about a music education student’s first teaching position is figuring out how to teach at a younger level.  As I have said in an earlier blog, I have many student leadership roles here at Grove City College.  I am used to working with college level musicians and my peers know how to fix their mistakes or already know most of the activities i ask them to perform.  If Mr. Groves, our Elementary Music Methods professor, had not taken our class to “get our feet wet” in the EEC by watching him teach, I would have been in big trouble.  You have to get to the younger children’s eye level, think as they do as well keep them involved.  Take every piece of advice given to you: it maybe worthwhile after all.

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March 17, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

2 Comments »

  1. “One on-campus feature of Grove City College’s Education Department, is the availability of a pre-school.”

    -Does that mean if you have kids you can take them to this pre-school?

    Comment by Emily | May 19, 2007

  2. Yes… I am unaware of the necessary steps that are needed to enroll your child into this facility. From what I have encountered, the pre-school is a great facility to help establish your child as a future leader of the world.

    Comment by smithnj1 | May 21, 2007


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