Relationships and music



The EYLF uses the words ‘relationships/relationship’ 47 times, and community/communities 68 times. This reflects the social constructivist theory which underpins the learning framework. Simply put EYLF recognises that children learn through the social interactions and relationships they form with other children and adults from their family or community, including at your service. Objects don’t teach you much when you are by yourself. When we form relationships with others we learn and teach in a social way.

Music guides and encourages children to engage with their world. It can help build relationships through shared experiences. When groups of children are involved in musical activities, the positive effects from the release of the brain chemical oxytocin helps children build trust and therefore promotes positive relationships.

In early childhood, and throughout life, relationships are crucial to a sense of belonging. EYLF p 7


try singing a familiar song and inserting a silly word in the place of the correct word, like “Mary had a little spider” instead of lamb. Silly songs make children laugh and encourage positive relationships and collaboration

Drummer friends

Today Adrian and Eli both wanted to play the drums. The boys were arguing over who was to play with the drums first.

Sam showed the boys how with some team work and sharing they could use one drumstick each and play the drums together.

Adrian and Eli found that this was a fun activity as they developed a new friendship through playing music which caused them to giggle and smile with each other.

How good are you at music?

Always remember there are no right or wrong ways to present or interact with music. Music should be a creative, open-ended process which everyone contributes to in their own unique way. It doesn’t matter how good you are at singing or dancing etc. What matters is that you engage with children in musical activities and follow their lead.

Music therapy

Registered music therapists draw on the benefits of music to help people of all ages. It’s different from music education and entertainment because it focuses on health, functioning and wellbeing. Therapists use music to teach children specific skills. For example, music therapists use interactive musical activities to improve social and communication skills like eye contact and taking turns for children with autism spectrum disorder.  The therapist might also write lyrics about specific behaviour – for example, turn-taking. The idea is that the child might be better able to focus on sung information than spoken information. Do your families know that musical therapy could benefit some children with additional needs?


Culture and music



Music is a part of a culture’s narrative or story, and as we’ve discussed it’s an integral part of all children’s culture. It’s often used to help communicate stories and emotions by way of chanting, rhyming, singing, dancing or playing musical instruments. We see this in modern cultures as well as traditional cultures which have existed for thousands of years. For example, Indigenous Australians often use chants and dance to tell Dreamtime stories. There are also certain instruments that are associated with particular cultures eg didgeridoo (Australia), bagpipes (Scotland) and sitar (India). Music can help children understand diversity – that there are many ways of living, being and knowing (EYLF p 13).


  • explore songs, music and dance in other languages and from other cultures
  • investigate culturally specific musical instruments


Learning Outcomes include 2 Children are connected and contribute to the world

Today at DELC we had a special visit from Isaac Compton who sang and played his guitar for the children.


The children enjoyed connecting with someone from the local community and were amazed at his talent at singing songs they were familiar with such as “Rockabye Your Bear” by the Wiggles.


Isaac had all the children and teachers up and dancing. We all felt comfortable with Isaac speaking and laughing with him afterwards. “I love you” was one of the comments made by William H during this experience.


Identity and music



Music contributes to young children’s understanding of relationships, and strengthens their growing sense of identity and sense of belonging, particularly where educators celebrate children’s culture and heritage through musical activities. Rhymes, simple songs and lullabies, for example, support a baby’s first communication in babbling and gestures. For generations music has been an important way that culture has been passed from adult to child. Children come to the service having experienced music in various forms with their family and community eg through songs, rhymes and games.

‘Being’ involves children developing an awareness of their social and cultural heritage, of gender and their significance in their world. EYLF p 20



The following activities all help a child create a picture of their uniqueness and inclusion:

  • play games like peekaboo, bouncing on a lap to rhymes
  • rock a baby while singing or humming
  • sing songs and play touch and tickle games to teach body parts
  • sing songs that include a child’s name and greeting songs


Learning Outcomes 1 Children have a strong sense of identity

Our Excursion to the Masonic Retirement Village

Today, to provide the children with rich and diverse resources that reflect children’s social worlds, the Pre-schoolers went on an excursion to the Masonic Retirement Village. Before we attended our excursion, we talked about what a Retirement Village is, and explained it is a large home where lots of nannies and poppies live.

When we arrived at the village we were introduced to all the residents. We performed some dancing and singing including Baby Shark, A Tooty Ta, The Wombat Wobble, and Ellie’s Elephants performed a debut performance of One Call Away. The residents of Masonic Retirement Village were all very impressed by our singing and dancing.

After our performance, we were treated to some fruit and cake, before we sat and talked to the residents. Annabelle and Lydia confidently communicated and participated in reciprocal relationships with the residents, giving out beautiful hugs.

We plan on extending on our visit to the Masonic Retirement Village by sending and exchanging letters and drawings to the residents and visiting again on a regular basis with more songs and dances to perform.



Emotions and music



Because music affects the way we feel, educators can also use it to enhance learning about emotions. For example, educators could play a piece of music and ask children how they feel, or to point to the emotion face that describes how they feel, and then engage in activities or discussion with children to extend learning about the emotion.

The ability of music to change our mood seems to be related to the production of different chemicals in the brain. Endorphins triggered by listening to and making music provide a kind of natural pain relief, where dopamine leads to feelings of buoyancy, optimism, energy and power.


  • ask children to make up dance steps which show how the music makes them feel eg happy, sad
  • get children to complete artworks while listening to different types of music. How does their art change when the music changes?


Learning Outcomes include 3.1 Children develop a strong sense of well being

Brett Young – Music Appreciation

While grouping this morning Will H requested we listen to country music. While listening to “In case you didn’t know” by Brett Young the children expressed their emotions and were involved in a discussion with Miss Danielle about the effect music can have on emotions and feelings.

The children spent time interacting in conversation with each other about their favourite music and the way it makes them feel.

We then painted a guitar and made collage cowboys/cowgirls in relation to the country song we had listened to.


Behaviour and music



Music affects moods. It can make us feel happy, sad, angry, scared etc, and therefore can be used to help children manage their behaviour. For example, music can be used to energise children and prepare them for action.  One neuroscientist noted that “when children read words the language centres of the brain light up…but when they read music the entire brain lights up like a Christmas tree.” (Wilson cited in Beatty 2006). Research has shown that children learn best when music is at 60 beats per minute because it changes a child’s brain wave patterns to an optimal state for learning (Egle 2005).  Because music stimulates emotions, it also helps to synchronise the two hemispheres of the brain, which motivates children to explore and experiment.

Of course music can also be used to reduce stress and create a peaceful, calm environment. This type of music is often used to soothe babies, induce sleep and rest, and accompany restful or meditative activities like yoga.  A slow, repetitive musical beat can help to regulate our heart and breathing rates, while humming generates soothing vibrations similar to those the body produces naturally.


  • create ‘progressive relaxation’ activities by telling a story using sounds and asking children to imagine the story
  • sing simple, short songs to infants in a high, soft voice. Try making up one or two lines about bathing, dressing, or eating to sing to them while you do these activities.


Learning Outcomes include 3.1 Children develop a strong sense of well being, 4.1 Children develop learning dispositions and 4.2 Children develop a range of skills

Slowing children down with music and movement

Physical activity

Today Miss Eliza & Miss Rachel planned for & participated in energetic physical activity with the children (L.O 3.2) The children asked to dance this morning so during free play they danced, then we all sat down once everyone had finished morning tea. The children then got to use their physical skills to engage in musical statues (L.O 3.2).

The children had a great time doing this.

At our group time before lunch the children again used their physical skills for some stretching. Miss Rachel asked what type of music would be best for stretching?”

Chloe said “slow,” Jackson said “music with just sounds, no singing.”

During this activity, the children demonstrated their spatial awareness as they moved through the environment safely (L.O 3.2) in time with the music. Miss Rachele discussed how stretching before using our muscles for different things helps us not hurt our muscles.


Numeracy and music


Numeracy broadly includes understandings about numbers, patterns, measurement, spatial awareness and data as well as mathematical thinking, reasoning and counting (EYLF p 46). It’s characterised by inquiry and problems solving which begins from a very young age. You can see it when a baby follows a moving object with their eyes, looks you up and down, grabs their feet or an object, and moves them in different ways.

Teaching numeracy to young children involves activities which promote understanding about key mathematical concepts eg speed, direction, numbers, counting, mass, units, and shapes. Music and movement can be used to enhance this learning. Research shows, for example that learning to play an instrument can improve mathematical learning.


  • review the literacy tips above – many of these can also be used to promote learning about numeracy eg those exploring the speed and rhythm of music
  • sing songs which include numbers, sizes, textures etc
  • offer babies a box of objects of different sizes, textures and shapes and encourage them to explore the different sounds the objects make
  • include numeracy concepts in musical dramatic play

Physical Activity – Memory Movement

Today with Miss Danielle we played a game where the children listened to different sounds, where each sound corresponded with a different body movement. For example, the ‘shh’ sound related to walking on tippy toes. The children used memory of a sequence to complete the task and all enjoyed playing this physical form of Memory.

As part of our focus of recycling and reusing materials, Miss Tara provided a range of resources that enabled the children to express meaning using visual arts, using our donated pizza boxes, paper plates, paint and scrap paper. From these materials, we made our own pizzas and played “Pizza Shop”. Some of the children took on the role of shop assistant/pizza maker, while others were the customers.


Today toddler 2 had a great time-sharing happiness, humour and satisfaction while dancing to some music. The children demonstrated great trust and confidence in each other as they spun around dancing and jumping together as their favourite songs played.

All the children showed very creative dance movements and drama while acting out dance moves to the songs. Some of the children would lay down when the songs said, “time to go to sleep or one of the monkeys fell off the bed” and the children would lay there until the songs would go to the next verse.

It’s always great to see the children interact and contribute with each other in a positive and happy way, all faces smiling while they enjoy each other’s company.



Physical activity and music


Physical activity contributes to the development of children’s brains and essential neural pathways. Connections are made during movement activities.  As many educators know, children cannot sit still for long periods, and physical activities contribute to their sense of wellbeing as well as promoting learning in key domains including gross and fine motor skills. Educators promote this learning, for example, when they plan for and participate in energetic physical activity with children, including dance, drama, movement and games. Music can be used to promote these learning activities. Remember physical activity occurs anytime children are not sitting still, and it often occurs as part of other planned activities.


  • encourage children to dance to different genres of music with and without props eg scarves and ribbons
  • dance the Hokey Pokey
  • ask children to pretend they’re an animal and show you how it moves
  • implement activities where children jump, hop, skip, roll, twirl, crawl and run etc
  • play games like duck, duck and Simon says
  • play music when children are helping educators clean or pack up
  • help children select music which complements their play and drama
  • rock, swing and bounce babies to music
  • sing songs like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” to help children practice their hand and finger control- a skill necessary for writing and handling small objects

Dance Time!

Ili began showing off her dance moves this morning whilst holding herself up by the lounge. Tamara (educator) began to extend on this by singing the song “Twinkle Twinkle”. Ili began bouncing up and down, using her physical skills to engage in a dance whilst trying to sing along to the song. Harry was soon being quick to join.

L.O 3.2 & 5.2

Extension of learning – 12/1/17

This week we have been focussing on sounds and different ways that the children can make music. To extend the children’s interest in this area Chloe provided the nursery 2 children with an opportunity to revisit their ideas and extend their thinking by giving them some maracas to explore. Eli, Evelyn, Ellie and Isabelle followed and extended their interest with enthusiasm, curiosity and concentration as they shook the maracas to make noise. Chloe sat with the children showing them different ways they can make noise with the maracas by shaking them, tapping them on the ground and tapping two of the maracas together. The children responded positively to the experience with laughter and smiles.

As an extension of learning from Monday the 30th of January, Sam set up the musical instruments again for the children to form a band. As Isabelle, had already played in the band yesterday she knew which instrument she wanted today. She drummed on the drum as Eli played the shakers. Isabelle used the sticks to hit the drum as she was taught yesterday. She enthusiastically played as she laughed and looked around to see who was watching. Sam Showed Eli how the shakers worked and had lots of fun being in a two-man band with Isabelle to perform for the rest of the room.


Creativity and Imagination


Creativity and Imagination

EYLF is a play based curriculum which recognises children’s capacity to initiate and lead learning. Through their play children express their personality, uniqueness and creativity to construct their own understandings which they may share with others (EYLF page 9).  Music will enhance children’s creativity and imagination.


  • provide opportunities for children to record and listen to their own musical arrangements
    and singing
  • encourage older children to create bands or put on musical shows for others at the service
  • use music to create stories eg farm sounds to tell a story about a child holidaying on a farm
  • encourage children to interact with and create music which taps into their imaginations eg

Rain is falling down, rain is falling down
Pitter patter, pitter patter
Rain is falling down

What does the rain sound like? Is it fast, slow, soft, loud? Is there a storm coming? Is it windy or hailing?Educators could use this traditional song as a finger play for toddlers, motioning rain falling with fingers in air, then on pitter patter tapping the rhythm of the words on a child’s hand or tummy, or massage babies’arm, leg or chest, tickling down for the rain then tapping for pitter patter. Older children can use percussion ‘instruments’ to keep the beat, and express how the rain is falling.

Today, Emma and Tabatha (educators) created a puppet show for the children. The children have been very interested in animals this week, so this gave us the opportunity to build upon and extend the children’s ideas about the farm animals. We asked the children what animals we should use to sing some songs with.

Tabatha asked the children what songs they would like the puppets to sing, giving all the children the chance to respond verbally through their communication. Archie, Carter and Kloe yelled out “Baa baa”. Tabatha and Emma sang Baa Baa Black Sheep using the puppets to do the movements and singing. The children absolutely loved it and couldn’t stop laughing at the puppets being “silly”.

Today in toddler 2 Emma (educator) listened carefully the children’s ideas and discussed with them how these ideas could be developed. Emma noticed Eden, Chase and Ava sitting on the lounge. Eden said, “I’m waiting for the bus.” Emma suggested the children stay on the lounge and that can be the Bus. Emma soon placed more chairs to create the bus and as she did this more children wanted to participate in the activity. Emma was soon singing the “Wheels on the Bus.” All the children loved participating in the singing.

The children asked Emma if they were able to go and pick up KymmyJ (educator). Ariah said “Kymmy we are going to Canberra.” “Wow” replied Emma.

Toddler two follows and extends on their own interest with enthusiasm, curiosity and concentration.

Making Sounds!

Hadlee was trying very hard to make some sounds using her mouth. Tamara (educator) began engaging in enjoyable interactions with Hadlee through making and playing with sounds. Tamara would click her tongue, blow raspberries with her lips or roll her tongue to purr like a cat. Hadlee was so intrigued and became confident to begin copying Tamara in these different types of communication methods.


During inside play this morning, Ili found a sudden interest in looking outside the window. Tamara (educator) was wanting to continue spending time interacting and conversing with the children. Tamara ducked outside without the children noticing and banged back on the window at Ili. Hadlee and Ili both confidently began to engage socially together themselves, and with Tamara through play. Ili and Hadlee banged on the window, screamed, laughed and blew kisses along with Tamara and the relationship continued throughout the day.


Musical experiences should be integrated with other learning experiences to enhance learning



Children’s learning across all the domains is enhanced when educators take a holistic approach to learning and recognise the connectedness of mind, body and spirit (EYLF p 13). Musical experiences should be integrated with other learning experiences to enhance learning, for example, playing different styles of music during art/craft activities, singing songs and rhymes to accompany stories and books, using dance, movement, rhyme and songs to explore maths and science concepts and promote literacy. Music can also be usedduring routines as it encourages children to follow rules and co-operate while improving long-term memory.

Music helps children develop dispositions for learning. Many musical activities encourage children to experiment, hypothesise, and investigate. When children play with musical instruments, for example, they explore cause and effect.


  • encourage children to engage spontaneously with music by providing lots of musical resources, including everyday objects and loose parts which children can use to create musical ‘instruments’, in the environment. You could create a music centre at your service with these resources
  • select music styles which suit the outcomes you are trying to achieve eg upbeat marching music to accompany packing away or a signature piece of music that introduces an activity or lets children know it’s nearly time to transition to a new activity or routine.


  1. Literacy

The EYLF says “Literacy and numeracy capabilities are important aspects of communication and are vital for successful learning across the curriculum. Literacy incorporates a range of modes of communication including music, movement, dance, storytelling, visual arts, media and drama, as well as talking, listening, viewing, reading and writing.

Language is a system of symbols and patterns, and early literacy activities which involve music, movement, dance, storytelling, visual arts, drama and talkinghelp children understand these symbols and patterns. Participating in musical activities improves a child’s literacy skills as they learn to pick up the beats and rhythms of the music and language patterns.

Research studies have shown that musical experiences in childhood can actually accelerate brain development, particularly in the areas of language acquisition and reading skills. Music helps children learn language in a multi-sensory, playful context.


  • explore different types of music and songs including those from different cultures
  • try songs and rhymes along with actions eg “The Hokey-Pokey”. Toddlers in particular like to hear the same songs over and over. This helps them learn and memorise words
  • teach children to sing with music as well as without. Music teaches children to keep up with a recognised rhythm and beat while singing on their own teaches children to make their own
  • explore songs with a changing melody. Teach melody by explaining it’s the tune of the song. It can be fast, slow or medium
  • clap the rhythm with children. Explain that rhythm is the pattern of the music
  • explore changes in beat, tone, rhythm, and volume
  • make up new words for familiar songs and rhymes
  • encourage free dance activities to music along with taught routines
  • prepare songs and dances for an open day concert attended by families and community members
  • make musical instruments out of loose parts and recycled materials, and use these to create rhythms and melodies

Extending on from last week’s interest in guitars (11.05.16). Tamara mentioned this interest to Archie’s Dad and found out that Archie actually has a guitar at home!! So today Archie, Charlie and Mason all made guitars out of blocks and rubber bands again. “Quick Tamara, come watch us!” Charlie began, “we’re going to put on a show just for you!” Charlie led Tamara to a chair and asked her to sit and watch them on the ‘stage’ (which is normally used as the skate park). The boys began strumming their guitars, humming along to the exact same tune with each other. Charlie even had a long round block to use as a microphone whilst they danced around the stage with big smiles on their faces. “We’re done!” Mason called as they stopped singing. Tamara began to clap, and then asked the boys if their new band had a name. “We’re the Bucking Bull Band!” Archie called.


Benefits of Music and Movement


Babies move with music in the womb

At 22 weeks gestation, the foetus is experiencing music and other sounds. We know the auditory system is fully functional and the brain is processing sound. Italian researcher Rhodari has shown mothers can calm their child and assist them to fail asleep by singing the same music they sang while pregnant.

New born babies communicate through music

Colwyn Trevarthen, one of UK’s foremost researchers of young children’s innate musicality writes:

“ … I have seen what power music has in communication with infants. Mothers’ songs, action games and dances, and instrumental and recorded music of more popular ‘folk’ kinds, appeal to young infants many months before words have any sense, pleasing them, animating them and calming them to peaceful sleep. Infants also participate musically with skill. They hear music and they join in. We are certainly born musical. This musicality is an expression of the moods and self-regulations that infants and their companions, old and young, can share.” (Trevarthen 1997)

Colwyn Trevarthen says humans use musical forms in their speech – noticeable changes in pitch, strong rhythms, variety in volumes and changes in speed – to attract and keep the baby engaged. The baby imitates these musical ideas, with adult and child seeming like dance partners. It is now thought that this very early musical communication has been valuable in human evolution, because it strengthens bonds between parent (or carer) and child.

Very young babies can’t move their body like us, but they use their facial expression, eye focus and sounds to respond to the music and their mother’s voice.

More theory

Howard Gardner proposed the theory of multiple intelligences. Gardner argues that there are eight different types of intelligence and people can be intelligent in different ways. One of these is Musical/Rhythmic Intelligence.Most adults and children show ‘intelligence’ in all areas but excel in one or two. It is much easier to learn new things when it’s presented in a way the learner easily understands and feels comfortable with. Identifying children who favour a ‘musical/rhythmic intelligence and encouraging them to participate in lots of different musical activities will help them, in particular, to achieve learning outcomes. These children will love to sing, dance and hum, easily pick up on rhythms and patterns in music and be sensitive to sounds and tones of voice. However, as we will see, musical activities will help all children achieve learning outcomes.

 The fear of music in early years’ settings

Given these strong reasons in support of music why does it lag behind other early years’ creative expression? The following reasons are suggested:

  • a lack of awareness, knowledge and appreciation of children’s spontaneous musical behaviours in their everyday play
  • little awareness of the role of music in the development of relationships and the pedagogical implications of this
  • limited ideas about how to foster children’s innate musicality
  • lack of confidence and fear of exposure of perceived lack of musicianship
  • a tendency to over-emphasise ‘accurate’ performance
  • a belief that music depends on genetic endowment
  • worry about the noise that musical activities might make.