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REVIEWED COLLECTION OF SCIENTIFIC PROCEEDINGS
Music and Music Activities
For Children and Youth
Music and Music Activities for Children and Youth
Reviewed Collection of Scientific Proceedings
PaedDr. Eva Králová, Ph.D.
RNDr. Zdenka Krajčovičová, PhD.
RNDr. Vladimír Meluš, PhD., MPH.
Assoc. prof. Maciej Kołodziejski, dr. hab., prof. nadzw. AH
Assoc. prof. Tomas Butvilas, PhD.
All rights reserved. The authors are responsible for the content and writing
of their papers.
Publisher: Faculty of Healthcare
Alexander Dubček University of Trenčín in Trenčín
Number of pages: 87
Year of edition: 2016
Cover: © Eva Králová
The Importance of Creativity through Music Activities
In Early Childhood
Význam tvorivosti prostredníctvom hudobných činností v období raného detstva
Eva Králová1 – Tomas Butvilas2
1 Faculty of Healthcare, Alexander Dubček University of Trenčín, Trenčín
2 Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania
The whole idea of this paper is about one of the main aspects within early child’s
education – creativity, its meaning to a child’s psychosocial development, and the
role of music activities. The presented findings rely on the methodological approach
supported by Reggio Emilia philosophy (Malaguzzi, 1998). Creativity education,
especially based on Reggio Emilia point of view, starts from the very young age and
therefore kindergartens as well as families play a significant role to support and
develop creativity roots in child’s everyday routine.
Music development of a child occurs in harmony with the development of the other
physical and spiritual functions of a child. All children under normal physiological
conditions are able to develop musically. However, it is important to provide them
with adequate musical stimuli as soon as possible. To develop rhythmical feeling in
early childhood there are frequently used physical movements as the joy of music is
always connected with musical expression of children and their spontaneous
movement on music. Children want also express themselves via music – in singing,
movement and play (Tichá, A. – Raková, M., 2012). Via music activities children
deepen their knowledge of the world, and expand their intellectual horizons. An
essential prerequisite for the implementation of pre-school music education is a
stimulating environment that will satisfy the curiosity of children: music
instruments, DIY music wall and props.
Children. Creativity. Early childhood education. Elementary Music Instruments. DIY
Outdoor Music Wall. Music Activities. Reggio Emilia Educational Philosophy.
Myšlienkou k vzniku tohto príspevku je jeden z hlavných aspektov v oblasti edukácie
dieťaťa raného veku – kreativita, jej význam pre psychosociálny vývoj dieťaťa
a úloha hudobných činností v ňom. Prezentované poznatky vychádzajú z filozofie
Reggio Emilia (Malaguzzi, 1998). Tvorivá edukácia, najmä tá, ktorá podporuje názory
a poznatky Reggio Emilia, vychádza z raného detstva, preto materské školy ako aj
rodiny zohrávajú významnú úlohu v podpore a rozvoji koreňov kreativity dieťaťa
v bežnom živote a jeho denných rutinách.
Hudobný vývin dieťaťa prebieha v súlade s vývinom jeho ostatných fyzických
a duševných funkcií. Väčšina detí je schopná rozvíjať sa hudobne. Dôležité je im čo
najskôr poskytnúť vhodné hudobné zázemie. Rytmické cítenie sa v ranom detstve
rozvíja v pohybe, lebo radosť detí z hudby býva spojená s ich spontánnym pohybom
na hudbu. Deti vedia vyjadriť aj prostredníctvom iných hudobných činností, ako
spev, tanec alebo v hudobné hry (Tichá, A. – Raková, M., 2012).
V hudobných aktivitách si deti prehlbujú poznávanie sveta a rozširujú svoje
intelektuálne obzory. K tomu je nevyhnutné stimulujúce hudobné prostredie
a učiteľ, ktorý uspokojí zvedavosť detí či už výberom hudobných nástrojov alebo
výrobou vlastných nástrojov, pričom úspešne sú v ranom detstve využívané aj
Deti. Kreativita. Edukácia v ranom detstve. Elementárne hudobné nástroje.
Hudobná stena – urob si sám. Hudobné činnosti. Filozofia Reggio Emilia.
Following Mayesky (2013) findings on children‘s creativity and using arts,
there are eight basic ways to help children express their natural creativity by:
Helping to accept change. Fear and anxiety are the enemies of creativity.
Helping children realize that some problems have no easy answers.
Helping to recognize that many problems have many possible answers.
Therefore the goal is to explore and discover.
Helping children monitor and accept their own feelings.
Valuing children’s creativity, even when it’s rather messy.
Recognizing and acknowledging children’s joy in all creative endeavours.
Helping children appreciate their own unique characteristics and
Helping to persevere. Encouraging them to explore, discover, and explore
Thus both creative arts and creative approach towards children‘s activities in
general engage the small ones across all domains – cognitive, language, social,
emotional, and physical. Activities are deliberately open-ended (not prescriptive),
they foster divergent thinking, and support the process without particular attention
on the product (Mayesky, 2013; Mills, 2014 et al.).
On the other hand, according to Reggio Emilia philosophy, the founder and
famous educationalist – an Italian pedagogue Malaguzzi (1998) believes that every
child has a hundred ways (i.e. languages and hands) to express him/herself and
these ways may appear much differently and unique. Thus one of the main principles
of this learning philosophy says that children get to know the world and close
surroundings through their senses: touching, seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, and
acting as an independent explorers. Therefore in this sense creativity is the ability
to generate new ideas and solutions, develop new things and concepts which can
be useful to other people. Based on Reggio Emilia approach, child stays in a very
centre of education and all the other supportive measures (i.e. community,
environment as the third pedagogue, teachers, family, arts and craft, project
activities, children experiences, philosophy, light-colour-action, children’s work
documentation etc.) serve as the assistants for assuring both the quality of learning
and possibilities to develop creativity (Malaguzzi, 1998; Lindsay, 2015).
Creativity as such is mainly identified through the following elements, such
as: creative person (we usually accept it as the aftermath of other external and
internal factors that lead to being creative), creative result (it has to be: smart,
simple, well crafted, familiar, sharable, resonant, original, flexible, challenging), and
creative process (this part remains most significant one as it consists of many
different variables, such as: action, creative thinking skills, knowledge, motivation,
personality, lateral thinking, divergent thinking, environment etc.). Putting all this
into other words, we do not learn from experience, but we do learn by reflecting on
our experience (Dewey, 2010).
The goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the significance of creativity
in early child’s education and the role of music activities as means to facilitate
creativity in children.
Research methodology is based upon Reggio Emilia educational philosophy
(Malaguzzi, 1998; Lindsay, 2015). The theory points out the meaning of child’s
closest environment as a key element in his/her further development and also
reveals child’s enormous abilities to explore, understand, create, and invent using
Method used in this work would be interpretation and analysis of educational,
psychological and music education literature on creativity.
As Sir Robinson, K. (2014) would point out, creativity is as important now in
education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status. By saying this, the
fact of child’s unmeasurable abilities are indicated.
Thus, within Reggio Emilia educational philosophy, every child is perceived as:
The one with unlimited potential.
Eager to interact with and contribute to the world.
Driven by curiosity and imagination.
Delighted in taking responsibility for his or her own learning.
Being able to listen and is listened to.
Having an enormous need to love and to be loved.
Another important variable for creativity education is an environment, which
has a significant place in Reggio Emilia philosophy and educational practice, as
within the environment is seen as the third most important teacher. All of this
undoubtedly serve for developing child’s social skills, language competence,
cognitive competences, and self-expression. Even Piaget has found that 3-4 hours per
day of learning and playing on the light table increases IQ of children, their
innovative memory, and creative potential (Shaffer et al., 2005).
After all it is worth to discuss the main factors that make an influence for
children’s creativity and what are the key elements of creativity as of the whole (fig.
Figure 1 Factors that influence children‘s creativity
It is worth to stress that all the components mentioned in the figure above
are necessary for the purposes of fostering, developing and sustaining creativity of
each child. All these elements should find the place in every kindergarten’s
Summing it up, in developing the competence for creativity, and the
involvement in the processes of artistic self-expression has a long-term impact on
the abilities of a child – to understand, observe, and listen. Imagination plays a key
role in the child’s search for knowledge and understanding, which in early child’s
education processes is more important than a result (though results are more
wanted by parents and regulators, in some cases – teachers).
Music Activities and their Importance in Young Children´s Development
Music development of a child occurs in a natural way and in concord with the
development of the other physical and spiritual functions of a child. All children with
normal physiological conditions are able to develop musically.
Leisure and free time
Virtues within nature
Virtues of the family
Communication and information
Books and other narratives
However, it is important to provide children with adequate musical stimuli as soon
To develop rhythmical feeling in early childhood there are frequently used
physical movements denoted as the “game on the parts of human body”, i.e. various
forms of handclaps, pattering with palms, rhythmical stamping, beating – drubbing
with fingers and so on. These are used in various combinations, the most often with
rhythmical declamation and singing of easy songs. The rhythmical development
game on the parts of human body is used in rhythmic rhymes such as “the echo”,
the mirror” or “rhythmic relay”. Moreover, significant gestures, facial expressions
and whole body movements accompany children since the pre-speech stage and
they remain an important means of communication in their other developmental
stages (Jenčková, E. – Gécová, S., 2014).
Music is the first art that children encounter with probably since “craddle
time” when they start responding to their mother´s voice while singing lullabies to
them. From the very beginning musical expression of children is evident as they
laugh, scream, and cry during music activities. However the path to their
spontaneous singing is a bit longer. The joy of music is always connected with
musical expression of children and their spontaneous movement on music.
Music art is also involved in shaping personal qualities and intellect of a
human beings, because aesthetical experience enables children to create joyful
relationship towards the other people and life in general while the feelings that
music evokes in children do change depending on their age, rhythm and melody.
Children want also express themselves via music – in singing, movement and
play. Pre-school children are already able to perform music activities as their
auditory skills and the ability to listen music are developed enough, however, their
musculoskeletal system is not ready perfectly co-ordinate their movements (Tichá,
A. – Raková, M., 2012).
For pre-school children music education is irreplaceable. Via music activities
children deeper know the reality, expand their intellectual horizons. Music affects
the development of children´s thinking, imagination, memory, attention, and
emotions, supporting and strengthening their friendships. Musical experience can
be seen as a means of developing the imagination and they encourage
improvisation in children.
Music can be used as means of language development in children, especially
via rhythmical and melodic games with phrases a bit more complicated than in a
child´s mother tongue.
A teacher can choose songs aimed at appointment of various things and this
way children learn new vocabulary (Lysaková, M., et al., 1988). Barrett, J. R. &
Webster, P. R., et al. (2014) define musical experience as being characterized by the
depth of affective and emotional responses that music creates in individuals. These
authors provide those interested with several examples from their practice of how
music teachers can most effectively rely on means of musical communication to lead
children towards the development and cultivation of musical skills, understandings,
and expression in educational settings.
Crooke, A. H. D., et al. (2016, p. 1) summarised the following benefits from
children´s music participation in education settings that gained considerable
attention in recent years:
Creativity and musical competence,
The development in non-musical domains such as the academic and
General growth of children in the areas such as psychosocial development.
Music Equipment and Environment for Healthy Development of Children
An essential prerequisite for the implementation of pre-school music
education is a stimulating environment that will satisfy the curiosity of children. Not
only musical activities, but rooms and various classes should have potency to
encourage children towards play and work. Games and learning cannot be
separated from each other. Thus teachers should care about necessary equipment
and tools in kindergartens or child care centres.
The centre for music in a kindergarten of child care centres is usually situated
near pianos. This place is equipped with elementary music instruments, Orff´s
instruments or hand-made elementary music instruments (fig. 2). There can be placed
rhythmic and melodic instruments (wooden sticks, triangles, xylophones,
tambourines, bells, and cymbals of various sizes).
Children here sing various songs, do rhythmic exercises, stomp, dance, play
various elementary music instruments, play various music games and perform
respiratory exercises (Lišková, M., 2005).
The other possibility is to make something unique, for example Do It Yourself
(DIY) Outdoor Music Wall where children can explore and experiment with different
sounds, and perhaps also sing along. As the instruments can be used PVC Plumbing,
biscuit tins, wire racks, and perhaps “trash” rhythmical instruments (fig. 3).
Figure 2 Simple Pre-School Craft Figure 3 DIY Outdoor Music Wall (WHOOT, 01-2016)
(Celestin, B., 2013)
Teachers can also use various props in educational process which are quite
strong motivational tool, from tiny objects with characteristic detail that can induce
particular feeling in children, support his or her empathy for the “role” or “task”,
and also activate his or her phantasy, spontaneity, imagination and also relaxing
movement. Children gain valuable experience, because various objects require
movement of different intensity, direction and rhythmical segmentation.
Figure 4 In an out the rainbow ring – singing while having fun
(Akoranga Preschool, 2013)
Music stimulates a release of physical and emotional energy, creativity and
expression. Children can explore music by offering them the opportunity to use
props and various materials (fig. 4) to punctuate the song that a teacher chose.
Music in such activity extends memory, thought and discrimination skills, for
example slow versus fast (Akoranga Preschool, 2013).
The children´s creativity is the form of human activity that does not differ very
much from adults´ creativity. It differs from the adults´ in missing a conscious effort
to achieve the particular goal. It has much in common with the game. To respect the
child´s spontaneous expressions was suggested already in 1632 by John Amos
Comenius in his work Informatorium scholae maternae where he recommends
mothers to develop creative expressions of their children.
The fundamental feature of the child's creative activity is the immediateness
and prompt musical idea. The other features are fantasy, imagination, activity,
discovery and creating of new solutions to the problem (Koťátková, S., 2005).
Spontaneous expressions need to be led, guided and encouraged by their teacher.
The degree of creativity is affected in children by the external and internal
Very important is professional musical activity where children gain skills to
original approaches and where they are led to inventiveness and creative
imagination (Jenčková, E., 2008).
Creativity remains one of the main features within Reggio Emilia
philosophical approach and practical actions. According to many scholars (i.e.
Malaguzzi, Kohl, Robinson, Lindsay et al.) creativity focuses on the process of forming
original ideas through exploration and discovery. In children, creativity develops
from their experiences with the process, rather than concern for the finished
product. Thus creativity should stand on the one line with literacy.
Children get to know the world and close surroundings through their senses:
touching, seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, and acting as an independent explorers.
Therefore creativity is the ability to generate new ideas and solutions, develop new
things and concepts which can be useful to other people.
Based on Reggio Emilia philosophy, every child is perceived as with unlimited
potential, eager to interact with and contribute to the world, driven by curiosity and
imagination, delighted in taking responsibility for their own process
of learning, being able to listen and is listened to, having an enormous need to love
and to be loved, and valued.
Music creativity grows out of inner need and desire of children for activity,
thus teachers, educators and parents should support original and new ideas of
children and give them new available stimuli so as the children do not lose their
Children can explore music, and by means of music the world around them,
by offering them the opportunity to use:
a) Elementary music instruments, Orff´s instruments;
b) Hand-made elementary music instruments;
c) Various materials to create something unique, for example DIY Outdoor Music
Wall where children can explore and experiment with different sounds, and
perhaps also sing along;
d) Various props in educational process which are quite strong motivational tool,
from tiny objects with characteristic detail that can induce particular feeling in
children, support his or her empathy for the “role” or “task”, and also activate
his or her phantasy, spontaneity, imagination and also relaxing movement.
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PaedDr. Eva Králová, Ph.D.
Department of clinical, theoretical and particular disciplines
Faculty of Healthcare ADU
Študentská 2, 911 52 Trenčín
Assoc. prof. Dr. Tomas Butvilas, Ph.D.
Mykolas Romeris University
Institute of Educational Sciences and Social Work
Ateities Str. 20, room 254, Vilnius, Lithuania