I noticed an interesting thing last week in my Sunshine I classes. (Sunshine I students are 3 and 4 yr old beginners) Many children are printing their letters with confidence, where in some cases, before our first music class together, they had never printed before! In four months, these children have learned their letters from A – G and can print them with little or no help.
This may sound like a small feat, but consider that we meet for only one hour each week and in that hour we have been learning keyboard geography, rhythm, tonal patterns etc. So why has their printing/letter recognition become so much better?
In Sunshine I, part of the curriculum involves learning the music alphabet. We focus on one letter at a time. I encourage the children to attempt to print the letter. I show them the correct formation…but only once. We do not practice printing the letter after that, but we do have lots of exposure to the letters through games and hands on activities that review and reinforce the names and sounds of each letter.
I think, though, that the development in printing has a great deal to do with the colouring, cutting and pasting activities included in the MYC curriculum as well as the craft activities added to many of my classses. In addition, the exercise of playing the piano keys one finger at a time is an amazing fine motor exercise which gives students the opportunity to develop control over the muscles in the hand.
I am so excited about the progress of these young musicians and more importantly, they are excited about the new and wonderful things they can do. There is no greater sight, than that of a child who is beaming with the afterglow of accomplishment! I live for those moments!
Your child can develop his/her fine motor skills by:
- playing with modeling clay
- sorting change or coloured candies into containers
- playing with lego or other building toys
- cutting pictures of interest out of an old magazine or newspaper to make a collage
- stringing beads or pasta to make necklaces
- dressing dolls or making paper dolls http://www.makingfriends.com/f_Friends.htm
- colouring or drawing
- typing http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/typing/
Learning how to play the piano teaches your child a host of new skills and helps them to develop skills that they have already acquired. Congratulations on giving your child the opportunity to grow and learn while having fun!