Teaching the Elements of Music

Children are naturally playful and creative. In fact, they express themselves musically from birth, starting with their very first sound – their voice. Play is children’s work; it’s how they learn about the world. New ideas are tested out and thoughts and experiences are formed through a process of trial and error. Cultivating opportunities for musical experiences that encourage creativity and are both structured and open ended are pivotal for children’s learning and development.

We can all contribute in meaningful ways to children’s musical literacy, regardless of our own musical ability or skills. The fundamental elements of music are more intuitive than you may think!

The Elements of Music course on ARTS:LIVE, produced in collaboration with ClickView, helps you on this journey through engaging children with fun activities in the classroom and at home, where you can use a growth mindset to make, talk about, and listen to music together.

The six elements, rhythm, pitch, dynamics, form, timbre and texture, are universally considered to be the fundamental systems that underpin all music. They all have an important part to play in any musical style, be it pop, classical, soul, nursery rhymes… you name it, they’re there! Sometimes they’re hidden, but we can uncover them with these basic activities.

You don’t even need instruments to teach them. By simply using our voices to sing we’re encouraging children to make connections to speech patterns and language development, and by using our bodies to make rhythms, we’re teaching them turn taking, idea sharing and cooperation with others.

Playing music and singing with others is one of the most powerful ways of learning about oneself, working with others, problem-solving and being a part of a team. Music is an incredible vehicle for self-expression in children.

Elements of Music is designed to be used by teachers, parents and carers to create opportunities for kids to develop their understanding of music and the language we use to describe it. These activities are just an example of what you can try out together. Use them to ignite your ideas. See where the students take the activity. Enjoy!

Check out Elements of Music on ARTS:LIVE here.

Download the Elements of Music Poster here.

If you haven’t registered for ARTS:LIVE yet, you can do so here.

Katie Hull-Brown has been teaching music since 2002 in primary classroom music, instrumental piano and ukulele, preschool music classes, primary school and Kindergarten choirs and percussion groups.  She began Tuned In Music in 2006, offering an Orff style approach to families for preschool music sessions. In 2010 Katie started a new choir for young children in Preston called KIDS (Kids In Darebin Sing) Choir that perform at local community events. In 2015 she was accepted into the Richard Gill National Music Teachers Mentoring Program and is currently mentoring generalist primary classroom teachers to include more singing with their classes. Katie sings in two choirs and Songrise, a performing a capella quartet. She also delivers music education programs for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and is a Teaching Artist with The Song Room.