Due to COVID-19 our staff is tele-working. For questions, email academy@gmu.edu. All private lessons and classes are now online.

Early Childhood Music Q&A

Posted on August 26, 2020 by Zi Wang

Do you ever catch your child making up their own songs, singing along to the radio station, or tapping on a plate with a fork? Introducing music to young children has many benefits to their cognitive development. Today, we invite our early childhood music teaching artist, Ms. JennaMarie Warfield, to share some of these positive impacts and to answer some questions about our new early childhood classes!

 

What’s your background in early childhood music education?
I’ve loved music since I started piano and music with my mom at 2 years old and when I was about 6 I attended the Peabody Conservatory Prep Program. Although I studied music performance, I wanted to teach in some form later in life, so I took extra courses in pedagogy and was trained in Kodály and Orff Schulwerk methods. I have been teaching students of all ages for 10 years, and in the last few years my focus has been on early childhood music. I am really excited to share my love of early childhood music with all of you and the Mason Community Arts Academy this year!

 

What do you enjoy the most about working with young children?
I love their creativity, spontaneousness, and their seemingly unending curiosity! Working with children keeps me on my toes and inspires me in so many ways.

 

 

What are the benefits of introducing music to young children?
There are so many benefits to introducing music at a young age. Researchers have shown that receiving a music education at a young age increases motor skills and coordination, supports language development, and improves concentration and memory. Students also build a foundation for fundamental math skills, discipline and teamwork, and self-confidence and self-esteem.

 

How does music help my child’s language development?
Many scientific studies have shown that learning music activates the same parts of the brain as learning languages. Learning and memorizing words to songs help build stronger connections to these parts of the brain. As the child gets older, they also start to learn how to express themselves through music, which not only helps with language and communication skills, but also helps with emotional development.

 

How are the classes structured?
Structure is important now more than ever. Each class will be formatted in the same way to create structure and so students know what to expect. The class will include interactive exercises such as “sharing time,” to work on communication, social skills, and have kids interact with kids their own age. There will be a Dropbox for any materials or song tracks that families may need for each class.

 

 

My child has a short attention span, what if they don’t stay still?
There are many benefits of these classes being offered online: They are in your own home, they are flexible, and they are fast paced. These classes are developed in a way to work on skills such as attention span, memory, and communication.

 

Do the music classes require parents to have any musical skills?
No, these classes are perfect for both parents and students that have little to no music experience! It is such a special experience to see parents learn along with their children!

 

What’s one advice you would give to parents at the end of these programs?
Remember that these classes are about exploration not perfection (for both the parent and the child). I encourage parents to allow their children to explore music in the world, whether it be banging on pots and pans in the kitchen, going outside and listening to the sounds of nature, or tinkering around on an old family piano. Exploration (not perfection) is so vital to developing the child’s love and appreciation of music!

 

 


About Ms. JennaMarie Warefield
Ms. Warfield is a flute performer and educator, who has more than a decade of teaching experience. She has an active private flute studio with students of all ages. Ms. Warfield is specializing in early childhood music education. Prior to teaching at the Academy, she has developed and taught classes in Montessori schools in the Northern Virginia area. She is certified for teaching Kodály and Orff Schulwerk methods, the most widely recognized teaching methods in K-12 music education.


 

Click HERE to learn more about our early childhood music classes.