Going for the Gold Teaching music to children

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By Rachel Abrahamson

Children have musical capabilities that, when nourished, can change and improve their lives. However, many preschools, daycares, and even homes, lack music. Children deprived of music may be more restless and even have a decrease in brain development. If teachers and parents incorporate music into daily routines, both child and teacher will enjoy a variety of physical and mental skills and also find an appreciation and joy in music. By introducing music to children in early adolescence, they are able to gain exposure and enjoyment of music, physical and mental exercise, and the ability to work on language development and other skills.

My name is Rachel Abrahamson and I have worked at Small World Learning and Child Care for two years. I worked mainly with the preschoolers and I have loved every minute of it. Aside from working at Small World, I participated in many after-school activities such as Girl Scouts. I have come to the point in my scouting journey that I can become a leader. The last step in this process was to complete my Gold Award; the Girl Scout equivalent of Eagle Scout for Boy Scouts.
I have always loved music and am involved in choirs and musical groups. Currently I’m attending Manhattanville College pursuing my dream of a degree in music education. After reflecting on my musical experiences, I realized there weren’t a lot of musical experiences offered to me at a young age. This was surprising to me, because preschoolers are going through a time of major brain development and experiencing music from a young age is beneficial. Because of this, I decided to focus my Gold Award on teaching young children music. I found that Small World would be the best way for me to bring this dream to life.

Rachel Abrahamson completed her Girl Scout Gold Award with a music education program for young children. Submitted photo

In music camp we sang, danced, and explored body percussion in different ways. By doing this I was allowing the children to the artistic and creative side of themselves. I wanted to include creativity and even let them create their own songs so that they could be more interested and involved with the program. The children ranged from 2-year olds to 7-year olds. I ran two separate lessons each time so there would be room for the children to dance without bumping each other. I also separated the older kids from the younger kids and did more complex lessons with the older group. Both groups were challenged and involved with the class.
I have been researching other music camps in this state and around the world, and the majority I have found are only available for older children. I believe music should be offered to younger children as well. That is when their brains are developing the most and they are interested in many things. My camp would also be applicable in other places because once the general outline is made, the ideas can be applied anywhere. I have created a music binder to distribute to surrounding daycares. A practice I hope to continue throughout my life.

The binder contains tips, essays, surveys, and music that I wrote for many instruments that other teachers can use. The songs that I wrote are nursery songs or other popular songs that teachers could play on a variety of different instruments for the children. I know my project has been successful because of feedback provided by the students, staff, parents, and surveys. Many of the parents were grateful for this opportunity because their children now have a stronger passion for music and want to continue their music experiences. Many of the children have come up to me since my project ended asking for more music lessons at the daycare, which I do plan on doing.
In pursuing this project I took on a lot of leadership. It was a new experience, because although I have been in leadership positions in the past, I never had full control of a large project of my own. If I were to change anything about this program, I would make it longer. Between scheduling for myself and also the daycare, this wasn’t a viable option. However, I hope to run similar programs in the future at the daycare and in my own teaching jobs.
I couldn’t have completed this project if it weren’t for the support of the community. I appreciate everyone’s help so much, especially Doreen Hoddinott, the director of Small World, Peggy Shaw, my former preschool teacher and dear friend, and Dotty Marks, my Girl Scout advisor. This project showed me that I should continue my pursuit of certification in Music Education because although it can be stressful at times, I loved every minute of it. I now know that with the proper support, I can be successful in this field of teaching. If anybody has any questions, would like a music binder, or would like to contact me for any reason, email me at rachela99@me.com.