Authentic music making and musical interactions emerge from children’s own interests in music. The emergent curriculum (Jones & Reynolds, 1992). A curriculum that is not prescribed, but evolves (emerges) from musical interactions with others is more authentic and meaningful for children.
Respect. A child-centered music room respects the innate musical abilities of every child. Every child is a musician.
Nurturing the whole child. Cognitive (musical), social, and emotional development.
Authentic assessment. Play is children’s natural mode of learning. What could be more authentic than play?
Social-constructivist theory (Vygotsky). While music acquisition does take place in isolation, most often children learn through social interactions with their peers and music specialists. Alongside a more knowledgeable musician (student or specialist), children can make music that is technically outside their current musical development (Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development). A child-centered music curriculum represents an ideal context in which to witness young musicians helping one another make and create music for themselves.
A child-centered music room encourages musical independence and an active musical life.
Be a player! One of the advantages of center time is that I can get involved in children’s music making as one of the musicians. In doing so, I become a stronger role model of an active musician. Children see that I just don’t talk about music, I make music.