By Dean Chaudhry, Leader of Learning and Curriculum, Foundation Stage and Rachel Stead, Leader of Learning, Music – Bangkok Patana School
Children naturally love music. Whether it’s soft and soothing or a lively tune, children feel it both physically and emotionally. Throughout the early years, children are learning to do new things with their bodies; learning that movement can communicate messages and represent actions. From quite an early age, young children are able to perform and recognise pantomimed actions such as ironing, stirring, swimming or playing the piano. They begin to learn about the world by acting on objects and people, and they “think with their bodies” well before they think with words. This is why body movement is not only fun for children but also a good opportunity for them to solve problems.
As they progress, it is important for children to be exposed to the diversity of cultures and styles that music has to offer. At Bangkok Patana School, students in Primary have a wide range of diverse instruments which gives them opportunities to explore their curiosities, try different types of music and broaden their world view. Children experience a diverse and inclusive range of music, in line with school values. They are exposed to music from around the world through the Primary School Music department’s latest feature; Musician of the Month. From snapping their fingers to Latin rhythms by Cuban singer Celia Cruz, to swaying to the cello strings of Yo-Yo Ma, students are learning of the diversity of the world around them.
The concept of “windows, mirrors and sliding doors” (an idea put forward by Rudine Sims Bishop at The Ohio State University) is a famous idea in literature but is applied to our Primary School music programme as well. A piece of music can give a child the ability to look through a window and see another world. A sliding door actually allows them to leave their world and experience that world in real life; one such example would be when students play the samba drums. The mirror enables students to see themselves, that is why it is so important to have a diverse range of musicians for the children to learn about so they can see themselves in the artists and feel included.