10 May Music At Montclare
Noel Cohen, our exceptional Montclare Children’s School Music Teacher, has been at our school since the beginning! As a professional, award winning songwriter, and guitarist, Noel brings his love and passion for music to our children. Here, Noel “talks” about teaching our 2s, 3s & 4s.
In the beginning…
When children first begin their preschool experience, the most important function music serves is to ease anxiety. Right away, I want to teach a 2 year-old is that school is a place where we have fun. I start with the simplest songs, the “ABCs”, “Twinkle, Twinkle”, and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Learning to sing these songs helps our youngest students with their early language skills. Our goal is to rock “Baby Beluga” by the time the year ends! The 2s really enjoy songs that are accompanied by hand gestures and love learning to count and use their fingers when we sing the ever-popular, “Where Is Thumbkin?”
In our 3’s program, we start to learn more complex songs, as we’re ready to delve into our Broadway repertoire with songs like “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow” and “My Favorite Things.” We also explore pop songs like “Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog” and “Sing a Song.” The 3s are able to absorb the more complex vocabulary, melody, mood and lyrics of these classics. This spring our 3’s, we’ve been learning the chorus for “Hey, Mr Tamborine Man” which has been fun for everyone!
4 year-olds are able to focus for a longer period of time and love testing out new vocabulary. They are excited to go deeper into the meaning of things and the songs we learn are longer and more complex; 2 or 3 verses and choruses. Some of the songs we sing are “This Land is Your Land,” “The City of New Orleans,” “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” and “I Can See Clearly Now.”
Each spring, our 4s prepare for our annual recording and graduation performance. They work hard, honing their singing and projecting skills. As we do every year, we have a professional engineer come to our classroom to record our 4s singing some of their favorite songs for our Montclare CD. All of their hard work has paid off and we now have amazing recorded versions of “Let It Be,” “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning” and “The Red, Red Robin” among other classics.
What makes music fun?
To me, the answer is that there’s a tremendous amount of learning that occurs effortlessly. Everyone loves music and singing. We are having fun, and while we’re having fun, our vocabulary is exploding and our memories are developing and expanding.
Connections to literature
I have a number of picture books that go along with specific songs. I will ask one of the teachers to hold the book and turn the pages as we sing the song together. This use of a visual aide helps the children gain a better understanding of what we are singing about and reinforces their love of music and books!
This may be one of the most important lessons I teach in music. Through singing as a group, children get a feeling of belonging to a community, to something larger than themselves. They enjoy the sound of their voices together.
Instruments (Kazoos and Shakers)
I use kazoos frequently with the 2s and 3s. The deep breaths in and out is extremely important on so many levels. Calming, centering and even stimulating brain development. I have also discovered that kids with language delays really benefit from playing the kazoo. Kazoos are excellent for kids who are shy. We express that “it’s ok to be loud! Let’s make some noise!”
The children love shakers and they support rhythmic development. I have read that this somehow has a positive effect on children’s math skills!
I have the best job in the world!