03 February 2021
I am a Reception teacher in a three-form entry inclusive state school and the Sound Communities CPD and mentor program has had a profound impact on my practice.
For the last year, I have been attending termly music workshops and have had the support of a music mentor in my class. The workshops have taught me about music and music practice, including characteristics of effective learning in music. The workshops also gave me the opportunity to exchange ideas with other Early Years practitioners. My music mentor then helped me to put into practice what I had learnt as well as bringing her expertise and skills to our classroom. Her support was invaluable in helping me grow in confidence and giving me practical advice as well as helping me to reflect on my music provision and teaching. We would wonder and ask ourselves questions about what we observed and plan for musical invitations and provocations. She taught me how to clearly set an intent and how to introduce a song and instruments.
Throughout the year we noticed the children felt more valued in their music making and their perception of music had shifted. At the start of the year they described music as something that they listened to, after only one term their view of music had become more interactive. We observed more musical play and exploration and I had become more adapt at recognising and observing musical behaviours.
Music has become much more integrated into our practice. Our team now use 'Musical Development Matters in the Early Years' to guide us when planning and observing opportunities for music in our classrooms to ensure we provide opportunities for:
- hearing and listening
- vocalising and singing
- moving and dancing
- exploring and playing
I also use the resources on the Sound Communities website to further develop and underpin our practice. I value children’s music and musical behaviours and now share and record music and music making through using a sound recorder and sharing this in a similar way that I would share a painting or drawing.
We recognise the importance of giving children opportunities to keep exploring musical instruments by having them out in our continuous provision. Each of our Reception classes has a large xylophone and a selection of musical instruments available. We have found music an excellent way of including all children in our cohort. Music supports making connections and is an inclusive form of communication and interaction. At the start of this year we made play lists with children’s favourite music from home to help them with their settling in process. We think about music more and how we can use it to best support the children we work with.
Sound Communities is a course of CPD sessions for early years staff, led by Creative Futures early years music practitioners, as well as an accompanying website with information, practical resources, and video examples. For more information, visit Sound Communities.
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