Before I offered preschool music classes in my piano studio, I would occasionally take on piano students who were not yet in Kindergarten, usually 3 or 4 years old.
The biggest mistake that I made was that I treated these students like miniature versions of my school-aged students.
I was savvy enough to know that I needed to keep things moving and change up activities frequently, but I didn’t know that I needed to change my focus entirely. Instead of a piano-centric lesson, we needed to have a child-centric lesson. Unfortunately, I was still focused on teaching piano, not teaching the child.
The number one thing to remember when working with this age is that it’s all about the child!
When we shift the focus away from the subject matter and on to the child, it’s obvious that there are huge benefits for the child. In a preschool music class, music is simply the vehicle that delivers these important skills. All of these skills will become something significant for each child as they grow.
Let’s talk through some of these benefits:
- Gross Motor Skills – In preschool music class, children have plenty of opportunities to practice gross motor skills such as moving to a beat, jumping, hopping, waving their arms, dancing, and more.
- Fine Motor Skills – Over time, students will hone in on finer motor skills. They will play instruments in a more specific way, learn hand motions, and even play piano keys with individual fingers.
- Parent-Child Bonding – The time spent in preschool music class is very intentional. Parents give their children their full attention. Children are able to thrive in the comfort and safety of their parents.
- Sensitivity – Preschool music classes expose children to a variety of music styles and children quickly learn that different kinds of music tap in to different emotions.
- Language Development – Reading stories, rhyming, experimenting and playing with words and singing songs are all opportunities for children to develop their language skills.
- Development of the Vestibular System – The types of movements that children practice in preschool music class are important because they stimulate the brain to help develop the vestibular system. This is important because this helps give children a sense of balance and an awareness of the space around their bodies as they learn to move in different ways.
- Socialization – Preschool music class is a prime environment for children to begin developing their socialization skills, even before they begin a formal preschool program.
- Calmness – Amidst all of the activity of a preschool class, there are also many opportunities for families to practice settling down and to experience calm and quiet moments together.
- Following Directions – Children in a preschool music class quickly learn to follow directions. This is not only important to help them thrive socially and in their homes, it is also a skill that they can transfer over to many situations that will ensure their safety.
- Transitioning To New Activities – Because a preschool music class is moves quickly between many different activities, children learn how to cope with moving on to something new, even if it’s not their own preference.
- Awareness Of Sounds – Preschool music class provides exposure to many different types of sounds a child might hear in everyday life. Students develop good listening skills and learn to distinguish different sounds.
- Cognitive and Memory Skills – Preschool music classes exposes children to concepts such as logical progressions, patterns, numbers, and categorizing.
- Coordination – As gross and fine motor skills develop, children will also begin learning more complex movements and practicing simultaneous movements.
- Self Expression – Preschool music class gives children plenty of opportunities to express and discover who they are. It is a creative environment that encourages students to develop and communicate their preferences.
You can see from this extensive list that preschool music classes provide a wealth of opportunities and experiences that children need in order to thrive. This list is just the beginning!
Katherine Rosenthal says
Hey Megan – I’m new to the piano teaching business. I’m just reading a lot and learning what to do. I don’t have any students yet, but when I do, if they are preschool-age, I will certainly come back to your resources. Thanks so much for putting them out there on Tim’s website!