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Kids playing with musical instruments in a classroom.

Published August 14, 2018

MusicPlay for infants and toddlers promotes musical growth in children

Enhancing the music abilities of children

Musical sounds surround a child, even before the moment of birth. Whether a child is listening to music, singing a song or moving creatively to the sounds around them, music is a vital part of a child's life. “Young children often create music as a part of their play experiences, thus sustaining imagination and creativity,” said Maria Runfola, professor in the Department of Learning and Instruction and the director of the GSE MusicPlay project.

MusicPlay for infants and toddlers provides a rich music environment for children. Class activities are orchestrated to create a playful environment where music becomes the toy. Children are encouraged to interact with the music in whatever way they feel most comfortable and each child's uniqueness is valued.

MusicPlay activities and materials are based on the research of Edwin Gordon, internationally renowned music psychologist and former UB music education professor. Gordon looked at the critical importance of preschool music education and described how to guide young children in music learning. From research, we have evidence that children have unique music literacy abilities, which can be developed earlier in life than most educators realize.

Early childhood is an opportune time to reinforce the natural music abilities of children. Although music is not a language, music is learned in much the same way that a language is learned. Children need to hear and experiment with extensive amounts of language before they actually learn to speak, read and write. MusicPlay offers children in the community an opportunity to develop their musical skills at a very young age.

 “When children are immersed in an environment that encourages their natural music abilities, those abilities increase exponentially, and we also see improved proficiencies in other learning areas,” said Runfola.

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