Music and the Performing Arts are a key element of our curriculum. Our music teachers have an excellent knowledge of music, child development, keyboard skills (and may play more instruments).
We have a music library that spans from Gregorian chant through Glass and Adams in classical music, and covers Gamelan, Samba, Tango, Mbira, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong and McCoy Tyner and a wide range of nursery rhymes. Our music teachers plan appropriate background music for a range of activities, or the focus in other parts of the nursery. They chose music for our babies that may help them relax and sleep or be energetic.
Music is associated with all areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. The development of logical and mathematical understanding language and literacy especially are supported with exposure to music.
We use a range of approaches to musical education including Dalcroze (a mix of Solfa/Kodaly and Eurhythmics), but music lends itself extremely well to mathematics (rhythms, beats, speeds, durations), emotional awareness (major and minor keys, happy and sad music), and to creative expression.
Music is also central to storytelling. Operas, musicals and children’s songs all have a dramatic narrative and provide a wealth for children to explore. Disney is wonderful for children. But so are Mozart, Rossini, Stravinsky and Wagner. There are amazing stories to be discovered, and children are just as receptive to The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflote) or Cinderella (La Cenerentola, Cendrillon) as they are to Disney’s Cinderella or Snow White.
We also use performance to build self-confidence. Children are given opportunities to perform individually and in groups, in front of each other, other children in the nursery, and we have regular performances for parents. Sometimes we get the children to compose their own work. They write the words, they chose or write the music, they designed the sets and the costumes, of ownership The older children take ownership of their part of the work, they derive a sense of pride they from being able to perform something which they had created, rather than something that they were required to memorise.