Kids At Home Blog

The learning behind music

The learning behind music
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Kids at Home Wellington

Over the term we have been enjoying rhythm and movement. The children are gaining confidence moving to music and exploring beat and flow with instruments such as drums, rakau and poi, fabric (lycra) and parachutes, balloons and feathers.

"Music is enjoyable, soothing and assists in the development of listening skills, concentration, coordination, cooperation, communication and memory, as well as being a valuable resource for creativity."


We love seeing children enjoying music with and alongside others  - sometimes we hear them singing the songs later while playing in other areas. We are always adjusting our music sessions to include children's favourites and to offer some repetition so children can revisit and memorise words and actions and also introduce a new song or resource here and there to inspire and explore musical interest and resources. The children love music and so do we!

Play idea: Music - Waiata

Children are born into a world of sound and movement. Music helps their intellectual, imaginative, emotional, social and cultural growth. Music is enjoyable, soothing and assists in the development of listening skills, concentration, coordination, cooperation, communication and memory, as well as being a valuable resource for creativity. It is important to value children’s desires to repeat activities as this is one way children practise being musical and gain control of musical forms.

Music can help children to:

  • express feelings through voice and body
  • develop rhythm and harmony
  • be creative and have fun
  • recognise and enjoy sounds, instruments and different music
  • value their own cultural music knowledge and participate in the music of other cultures.

Adults can support children by:

  • singing and chanting as often as they enjoy it
  • responding when they make up their own songs and chants
  • dancing and moving to music with them
  • making up chants and songs while doing other activities e.g. at the playdough table
  • making music fun and enjoyable
  • making a wide variety of music available
  • playing instruments and using other musical equipment
  • exploring sounds and making music out of any everyday items that come to hand
  • providing plenty of opportunities for making music at any time.

Providing for music

Having a display unit for musical instruments with easy access for children is ideal. An open area for music and movement where children are able to move freely without bumping into each other to participate as a group is also recommended.

Ideas for equipment

  • selection of music instruments (commercially made and home-made)
  • CD player and CDs with music diverse in culture, style and genre
  • items for dancing such as scarves and streamers
  • adults singing - using their voices and bodies.

Waiata: Māori music and singing

Many examples of Māori music and singing are available on tapes and CDs. Local music shops have these available, or copies could be ordered through them.

There are also Māori radio stations that could be approached about titles suitable for children, and from whom copies could be purchased. Remember to request copies of words for the waiata if these are available, or have someone write them with translations.


Instructions for making poi are widely available, but remember to make them to match the small size of young children’s hands. Used in conjunction with Māori music, poi can provide rhythm exercises for children and adults.

For young children, it is more important that the poi movements be associated with music, rhythm and singing than to perform intricate actions. Seeing adults using poi (for example, on video or in real life) is a valuable experience for children.

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