Dr. Mark Turner

Tips for Elementary Music Specialists
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Tips for Early Childhood
Early Childhood Music

by Dr. Mark Turner
Associate Professor of Music
Early Childhood and Elementary Specialist
SFA School of Music
[email protected]

Part 4: Advantages

Advantages to Using Child-centered Music:

  • 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.


The Texas School Music Project is a source for ideas and information concerning pedagogical practices in the music classroom or rehearsal hall.
The TSMP is a service provided to all music specialists by the faculty of the School of Music at Stephen F. Austin State University.

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