EYFS Activities – The joy of music

Sue Newman
Tuesday, September 27, 2022

In the fourth instalment of this series Sue Newman of Boogie Mites looks at music’s capacity to inspire joy and the associated benefits

  • Download a Boogie Mites 'peekaboo' song Doyouthinkhesaurus, videos and suggestions for associated activities for free here

We all recognise that music uplifts us, whether just listening, dancing or singing along – this is why it is a prominent part of our celebrations and leisure time. The physiological explanation can be explained by what we at Boogie Mites call the daily DOSE of music magic. Participation in music activities releases the hormones dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins into the brain. Dopamine is known as a happy chemical; oxytocin is also related to positive feelings; serotonin helps you relax and stay focused; endorphins excite and energise us. Hence the elation that can be experienced through music engagement.

The current climate of post-pandemic stress, increased screen time, rising mental illness and rising poverty is showing as an increasein anxiety in young children. Opportunities for sharing joyful time needs addressing as a priority in early years settings and homes.

HOW CAN WE INTRODUCE MORE JOY?

Attunement play is where adults directly tune in with children. You need to find your inner child and interact, being silly and playful with them. Music time can provide a great opportunity for this.

Many thinkers have spoken about the importance of joy – seventy years ago, philosopher Simone Weil suggested ‘the joy of learning is as indispensable in study as breathing is to running’ – but our education system has not always fostered this view. As author Alfie Kohn says, some people worry about ‘excessive enjoyment’ and believe that it is a signal that not much learning is going on. Joy and music, as with many creative forms, are intertwined. In fact, neuroimaging studies and measurement of brain chemical transmitters show that when people are engaged and motivated and feel minimal stress, information flows freely, they achieve higher levels of cognition, make connections, and experience ‘aha’ moments, according to 2007 paper ‘Neuroscience of Joyful Education’.

The word joy is not mentioned anywhere in the EYFS or Development Matters, as play expert Ben Kingston Hughes has pointed out. We have worked with Ben on a series of webinars and a co-written song, and he has helped us to see the importance of emphasising this aspect of regular music practice in early years, not just focusing on the benefits for language, physical, social, emotional, literacy and maths development – which happen as a result of the magic that happens in the joyful moments of musical play.

ACTIVITY IDEAS

Traditional songs and rhymes can be delivered using role play, fun actions and funny noises to keep children engaged and to encourage them to follow your lead, being silly and joyful.

In our July article, we talked about how children love drumming. It gives them an outlet for using energy in a fun and noisy way. We provided a free download of Boogie Mites song Gonna Tap (and bang). If you have tried this out, you will have seen the shared joy of children drumming together.

In our August article we talked about making music outdoors and using the natural environment and space to encourage more movement and creativity. We provided a free download of Boogie Mites song One Man Band – if you tried this out, I am sure you witnessed the joy of a ‘follow the leader’ marching song.

In our September article we talked about using junk percussion items to enliven storytelling. We provided a free download of Boogie Mites song Let’s Tap a Word, which makes playing with words fun.

With this article we are providing a free download of Boogie Mites’ D’yathinkhesaurus, a fun game with dinosaurs that encourages children to act scared as they hide from dinosaurs and then to have fun as they play peek-a-boo with them.

Before the song

Describe the dinosaurs that you are hiding from, role playing their size, characteristics and actions, then explain that it turns into a fun game. Teach them the chorus, encouraging singing and clapping along.

Put on the song, then act, sing and clap along. Remember that you have to act it out, being silly and having fun too.

Nursery World readers can claim a 20 per cent discount on Boogie Mites programmes until the end of the year. Use ‘BMNW20%’ at checkout.Contact sue@boogiemites.co.uk for further information.

BOOGIE MITES CORE MUSIC PROGRAMMES

  • Boogie Mites music programmes provide everything you need to boost your music provision in the setting and outside, for each age group, boosting movement, mood and cognitive development for all involved – staff and children.
  • School Ready Music Programme (3-5 years), https://bit.ly/3qqSO2G
  • Minis Music Programme (2-3 years), https://bit.ly/3RZePBr
  • Teenies Music Programme (crawlers to 2 years), https://bit.ly/3RtEZMJ
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