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The Little Minds, Big Ideas Podcast - Weekly Show #2: The Episode All About Music

'We all love music but can it really have a major impact on brain development?'

The Early Years Network Team

Nov 20, 2023 • 33 Mins min read

Weekly Show #2: The Episode All About Music

'We all love music but can it really have a major impact on brain development?'

In this weeks episode Emily is joined by Lucy as Ben recovers from a serious bout of man flu that has left him unable to speak or communicate, which isn't very useful on a podcast. Anyway the show must go on and in Ben's absence Lucy and Emily have a fantastic discussion around the importance of music in the early years. Studies have shown that engaging with music from a young age can enhance various areas of a child's development. From cognitive skills to literacy and numeracy, music can provide a significant advantage for children in their early years. In this podcast, Emily and Lucy delve into the neuroscience behind the benefits of music, the impact on different areas of development, and practical ways to incorporate music into early years provision.

Don't forget every Monday we will be arriving in your favourite podcast providers feed with a brand new weekly episode discussing the latest early years news, exploring fascinating topics and talking all things early years!

Emily Macfarlane: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Little Minds Big Ideas podcast with the earliest network. Um, welcome back to our weekly show. We are joined this week by not Ben, unfortunately, as he is a little bit poorly, he is a little bit worse for worse, so his voice would not sound very good on a podcast. Lucy has kindly agreed to step in, so, thank you so much for joining me on this weekly episode. I'm just gonna start with a little bit of news from us. So myself and some of the team from the early years network are gonna be heading down to the Nursery Managers show in London on the 24th of November. We are not actually exhibiting at this um, event, but we are going down to see what's going on and to hopefully meet some of some lovely people that are down there.

Um, but in March we are, um, exhibiting at another show in London. So we will get the details out a little bit closer to the time, but it is on our website for the Child Expo expedition. [00:01:00] So in this weekly episode, we are gonna be talking all about music because we posted on our blog this week, we sort of highlighted it, um, sort of the power of music and how music can influence young children.

Do you find that you are using music a lot in your setting?

Lucy Mills: I literally use music like every day of my line. , like throughout the day you'll always gonna be singing, making up a random song, making different noises. Um, so yeah, I do it all the time. Basically. Part of the job,

Emily Macfarlane: isn't it? Yeah, yeah, definitely.

And get something people learn very quickly in early years is that you have to get over singing. Yeah. You

Lucy Mills: just have to be a bit silly really. You can just. Even if Barry, it's quite fun actually. It is fun.

Emily Macfarlane: You can just play everything into a song. Yeah. Um, but actually I think it's kind of overlooked how important music can be to early childhood development because that's some of the research we've done and some of the things that we've looked into.[00:02:00]

It's really, really like fundamental for development. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Um, so within our early years, we cover a few sort of different . Neuroscience things as well that really starts to make you think. So the fact that brain growth, the effects on the prefrontal cortex and the comprehensive brain development all link to music.

So I thought I'd just share a couple of the little things with that just to kind of give everybody an idea of actually how important music and songs and instruments can really be. . Um, so we've got the creation of more neurological connections. So there's studies that show that exposure to music has been linked to improved transfer effects in such areas such as verbal, inte, um, and even suggesting that better academic performance comes from listening to music.

So children make more neurological connections when they're listening to music, and [00:03:00] the brain growth is actually gonna help them develop in. Lots of other areas.

Lucy Mills: Yeah, it definitely helps with their communication and language included. Yeah. And in that vocabulary and

Emily Macfarlane: things. Yeah, a hundred percent. And then we have effects on the prefrontal cortex.

So they, infants who have been exposed to music exhibit significantly larger mismatch responses, which is your MMR, um, indicating that improved neurological processing of these structures, changes in both music and speech. So basically that actually when children are exposed to music in different language, like you said.

they are, their brains are actually forming more connections, which is just incredible. And then the brain development, creating music actively activates the auditory cortex and engages other areas of the brain, such as Ling Linguistics, sorry, and mathematical precision and creativity, and five motor skills, which are all needed to hold and play instruments.

And it's something we're gonna dive into a little bit later, but how many different areas of the brain [00:04:00] have actually been used? I think

Lucy Mills: it's quite incredible actually, that, yeah, just listening to music and kind of having songs on a day to day has such a major impact on their brain development. Yeah, it, it is quite incredible.

And you don't think about it No. When you're doing it, when you're singing this No. You don't think about kind of what actually that's doing for these children? Yeah. You're just doing it. No, you just. That's what you do in your job.

Emily Macfarlane: Yeah. And there's studies that show that when a child is listening to music and sort of engaging in that, when they do the scans of brains and myself and Ben were talking, they, you can see when the neurological connections are being made.

'cause it sort of lights up like a firework in when on the scans. So you can see the actual physical changes that happen when children are involved in music and playing music and dancing. So. It is. Yeah. It's incredible. Yeah, definitely. But if we take it back to sort of babies and how music and songs and things impact babies.

So the conversation we had earlier was like that curiosity. [00:05:00]

Lucy Mills: Yeah, definitely. You know, babies don't really know what music is they, you know, they don't know about these sorts of things. So any sort of sounds that you make, any kind of silly voices you make, they're going to be naturally cur, naturally curious.

Yeah. They're going to want to kind of know what it is, what's going on. Um, and they're more likely to be a lot, a lot more engaged in it

Emily Macfarlane: as well. Yeah. Because that, like you say, they've never heard it. So if you are got a different pinch in your voice, or the rhythm that you are speaking in is slightly different from the norm, they're gonna be like, oh, yeah.

It catches

Lucy Mills: their attention. Yeah. And they, yeah.

Emily Macfarlane: That is the use of, and I, I'm really sorry if I'm not saying it right, because I always feel like I am, but I don't know. I feel like it, it's called Mother East and there's a quote on Google that says the high pitched sing-songy voice that we all use when there's a baby around and we are all so guilty of it.

We all do that. Mother East of hello. And then we do like, we do our little, our baby talk I suppose is another way for it, but actually that pitch that you'd speak [00:06:00] to the children in is . Is really crucial because it exposes them to even more sounds that aren't of normal talking voice. Yeah. And

Lucy Mills: just, just making that silly voice has such a major impact on their brain development.

Mm-Hmm. . Yeah. And again, like we said earlier, you don't realize it. You're just making that silly voice because that's how you talk to babies. Exactly. But it again, it has that massive impact on them. Yeah. It helps 'em develop. No,

Emily Macfarlane: and it's quite, it's quite crucial how . The things we do every day, we don't realize.

Yeah, definitely. And that's something you always come back to in early years. Like the job that is done literally develops Yeah. Young children's

Lucy Mills: brains. Yeah. When we've been researching all of this, kind of been thinking back to my practice and I think I just do this. Yeah. Generally every day, this is just what we do.

Yeah. And then actually when you actually look into it and think about it and think about the impact you're having on those children, it it, it's amazing. Yeah.

Emily Macfarlane: It's incredible, isn't it? And then for babies, that exposure to language, which we talk about a lot. Um, we've got the interactions [00:07:00] video on the network site about interactions and how important they're, but actually music and songs and that motherese of language I.

Exposes children to new vocabulary all the time.

Lucy Mills: Yeah, definitely. You know, they're always hearing kind of us talk to each other as well. Yeah. When we are talking to the other practitioners within the room or so, if your manager is in there, you know that always picking up on that language, they're always going to be learning that new language that you are talking.

Emily Macfarlane: Yeah. And like you said, with talking to other people and the singing and different things, your voice is gonna change. Yeah. So if you are having a serious conversation, your voice gets quite . Sharp and firm. Yeah. Whereas if you are singing Old McDonald, you are, your

Lucy Mills: pitch changes. Yeah. Everyth changes and the

Emily Macfarlane: rhythm that you're talking at.

So that's something that babies need to learn. Yeah. They need to pick up on all those things. And it travels through into sort of, as you go into like the age of two, the exposure to more music and more language. Yeah. So

Lucy Mills: yeah. And then they kind of start. Talking more and then they, [00:08:00] they pick up all the music from the different songs.

Yeah. And within our setting, we use a lot of kind of real world music. Mm-Hmm. . So that actually it's not just nursery round, they're actually picking up on vocabulary that's used within the hot world. As they get older, they're learning that vocabulary and then they'll use it within their life.

Emily Macfarlane: Yeah, and it's not always like songs, it's like music as well, like the background noise that Yeah.

Comes into it and learning that. The different rhythms and the different, the different pitches that come within musical instruments as well, I guess because when you are playing the drums, if you are listening to a violin. Yeah, it's very different and

Lucy Mills: there's always so many ways to play a specific instrument.

There's yeah, so many noises you can make from one instrument. Yeah, so it's always changing. Yeah. They always kind of listen to those different pitches.

Emily Macfarlane: Yeah. It's like if you think about a drum, you've got like an African drum or you've got like a percussion drum that you'd see in like a typical band.

Yeah. They're very different. Yeah. Basically they're just both. For John. . So I think as they move through that age group, music changes [00:09:00] in what it does for children and then when you get to preschool, that rhythm that they've learned through music and how things flow, and that kind of links to conversations and how conversations flow and syllables, like you say, you tap out.

Along with the word, when we are singing

Lucy Mills: songs and things, we always kind of clap out the syllables. One of our favorite ones to do is we sing a Days of the Week song. Yeah. Um, and we clap out the syllables as we're singing it, and actually the children try and copy. So they're constantly learning those syllables.

Yeah. And then actually I've seen them kind of doing it within their own songs. Yeah. So when they're singing, they're trying to clap out their own syllables. So actually they're learning that from us to then carry on through their education. . Yeah. And

Emily Macfarlane: then it's like you say, it's something that carries on through, so it's something that when children don't realize they're learning it.

Yeah. They normally pick it up a little

Lucy Mills: bit because I guess to them, they just think they're clapping. They just think they're having thought Mm-Hmm. . But actually they're constantly learning as they're doing it. Yeah. Without even noticing. And

Emily Macfarlane: in preschool it's, it's that encouragement to [00:10:00] create

Themselves and do what they've learned throughout, sort of when they're a baby, they're listening to different songs and musics and sounds, and they're in twos. When you start to understand it a little bit deeper and then in the preschool you kind of, those connections have already been made, those brain connections, so actually as they move through, they're stronger and they can just build upon them rather than forget them.

Yeah, definitely. When we think about music and sort of listening to music. . How like personally do you feel when you listen to music? I,

Lucy Mills: it depends on the music you're listening to. Yeah. So I like listening to like calm music. If I'm feeling safe, I'm feeling a bit overstimulated or a bit overwhelmed.

Listening to calm music just helps me kind of bring myself down, relax, and then I can carry on. Yeah. And we do the same for our children. So our children tend to struggle kind of around meal times. They get quite energized and . Don't really wanna sit down and eat their food. So we always put on calm music and it actually really helps [00:11:00] kind of just bring them back down.

Yeah. They eat their food and then they're ready and relaxed to go to sleep for the ones that do as well. Yeah. So it kind of just helps to calm them down a bit. Do you feel like sometimes

Emily Macfarlane: at meal times, and now I see this a lot in different settings, is that actually when you've got the background music on, do you still encourage them to talk and have conversations?

Yeah, definitely.

Lucy Mills: Yeah. We always kind of . But we change our voices. So again, it comes in with a pitch. We are constantly changing our voices to kind of match the energy that we kind of want from them. Yeah. Um, so when they're listening to that calm music and we are talking to them, we're talking more softly, just being like, oh, it's all fine.

We're all relaxed, we're all calm. Um, and they tend to copy us. So kind of. Bring themselves

Emily Macfarlane: fat down. It's that rhythm and that pitch in your voice. If you've got calming spa music on in the background and, and member of staff is walking around saying, sit on your jailer. Yeah.

Lucy Mills: It's so contrasting. It's not, not have the music on in the first place.

It's, it kind of defeats the point. Really. Yeah. It doesn't reflect

Emily Macfarlane: what's going on in the room.

Lucy Mills: If you've got them two contrast, it's, it's [00:12:00] overstimulated for them. They don't understand what you want from them.

Emily Macfarlane: No. . No. Mealtimes is a really tricky one, isn't it? Because you want everybody to eat and do things, but it's also a great social moment.

Yeah. And it's a great time for conversation. So it's getting that balance. Yeah. Of we want the environment to be calm and we can use music to help do that, but also we don't wanna stump any conversations. It's when practitioners say, stop talking. I can't hear the music. Sometimes it's okay not to hear it all the time because they're trying to have a conversation and learn different things.

And actually that balance, if

Lucy Mills: you are all talking to each other in like a soft, calm manner, you'll hear the music anyway. Yeah. The music's always gonna be there. Yeah. It's just how you talk to each other while the music's on. Yeah.

Emily Macfarlane: And, and with terms of like music being a mood booster, they say that music can actually increase your

Sort of how you feel and that the positive chemicals in the brain that are released whilst listening to music create those positive like sort of relations and you can relate back to it. And it's, it's can be [00:13:00] a happy situation. 'cause I know for me personally, when I listen to bands or songs or artists that I love, it just makes me happy.

Yeah. I

Lucy Mills: suppose it's like when you're driving in the car, yeah. You've got your radio on as loud as possible and you've got good music. It's such a good feeling. Yeah. And I always do it if I'm going somewhere that say I am a bit nervous to go wherever I'm going. Mm-Hmm. , I always put really happy, good music on in the Yeah.

Yeah. Turn it up, have a good time. Have a sing along, obviously . Um, but it just, it does, it boosts your mood. Yeah. And it makes you feel so much better because

Emily Macfarlane: that's like something that we want children to feel as well. And listening to music and having . , sort of that identity that comes with it is really important.

Um, myself and Ben were talking about music and we have polar opposite music taste in some areas. Like if I put a boy band on his lap, and then some of his music, I'm like, oh, but actually it's having the confidence [00:14:00] to have an opinion on that. Yeah, definitely. And children get that as well. Yeah. You get children that, um, love to listen to Disney music.

Yeah. Because that's a positive relation that they've got at home. But other children will have never, never heard that and never been exposed

Lucy Mills: to it. I think it's what they've been exposed to as well. Yeah. If they've never been exposed to Disney, then they, it's not gonna mean anything about it. No. But yeah, you can have that music that actually means a lot to you.

Yeah. And gives you, gives you a bit more confidence and gives you that identity.

Emily Macfarlane: Yeah. And I just think music is a great way to boost it. Makes you, like I said, it makes you just face feel good. Yeah. When you listening to what you like. Definitely. But there's also that flip side of it that . Listening to sad music can actually help with emotional regulation and emotional intelligence because you're tuning into that sad emotion.

It can make you feel sad, so you understand what that feels like. Yeah,

Lucy Mills: I've, I've had that with a few children that when they've been really emotional or they just can't seem to regulate themselves, actually having that sad music on. It [00:15:00] helps 'em embrace their emotions because we don't want them to think that they can't feel like that.

No, it's okay to feel like that, but actually we want to help them through it and support them with regulator themselves. So actually giving them that chance to embrace their emotions really does help them. Yeah.

Emily Macfarlane: No, and it's like you say, it's, it's embracing it. It's be becoming aware of what you're feeling Yeah.

And how you're feeling, and that it's okay to feel like that.

Lucy Mills: Yeah. And kind of accepting that that's how you feel. Yeah, that's fine. Let's deal with it. Support

Emily Macfarlane: it. That's what I was gonna say, that acceptance of, yeah. If I feel sad or it's like if children are angry, you can use music to help them express Yeah.

How they're feeling. Because like you said, that emo with emotional intelligence and building those skills, the first step is accepting how things feel because it's, even as adults sometimes we don't wanna accept that we want, we need help, or that we're sad or that we're angry. Or sometimes when you're really happy and you wanna scream by it, but nobody's

You're a bit embarrassed to do so. So [00:16:00] music is a great way to teach children what everything feels like. Yeah, definitely. If that makes sense. Um. Do you feel like you use different emotional music within your practice?

Lucy Mills: Yeah, definitely. All the time we kind of put music on to match the energy of the children.

Yeah. Excuse me. Um, so say if the children are really energized, they've got those energy, it will put on music that they can dance to express themselves to. Yeah. Whereas if they're feeling a bit tired or a bit sad. Again, putting on that kind of calmer music so they can just relax, feel their emotions.

Yeah. And then carry on with the day. Yeah. No, it


Emily Macfarlane: it's a, it's a great tool to have in within your pocket. Like Yeah. Get out and use. Um, so looking at dance into music as you've just sort of spoke about it. Do you feel like dancing to music is a priority in your environment? Do you feel like everyone understands the benefits of when we dance?

Lucy Mills: I think it's so [00:17:00] important because whenever a children's a child is dancing, they're practicing their gross motor skills, they're constantly moving their bodies, you know, and it's such a good way for them to express themselves as well. And it's such a good confidence boost. I know that when I'm dancing to start with, yeah, you feel a little bit silly, but actually after a while you're just having the best time.

Yeah. And it just boosts your confidence. And I've seen children that don't necessarily want to interact with others. It's until you put music on, they don't want to interact. No. And then you put the music on, you start dancing, having fun. They'll actually naturally come over and join you. Yeah. So it's a way of kind of boost that social interaction as well.


Emily Macfarlane: Like you said, there's so many areas that come into dance and you've got, like you say, your physical skills, your gross monitor skills, you've got balancing, you can also bring mass and literacy into things, like you said, clapping along with the syllables like we discussed earlier when you're dancing or 1, 2, 3 jump.

So it brings numbers naturally into it as well. And dancing is such a mood booster as well. Like you said, you feel a [00:18:00] bit silly, but actually . The phrase dance like no one's watching. Yeah. And I think it's

Lucy Mills: really, it can be really powerful for us as practitioners to embrace that. Mm-Hmm. and be silly. Yeah.

You know, being a child with them. Yeah, it's fine. They, they're learning from us. So actually if we show them that it's okay to be silly, it's okay to have fun. Yeah. It's okay to be a bit crazy sometimes. They will learn that from us and then they'll feel so much better about

Emily Macfarlane: it. Yeah. Dancing is, and it doesn't have to be sort of like learnt routines.

Lucy Mills: No, it can be literally anything you want to

Emily Macfarlane: just go for it. . Um, so the next part of music that we wanted to touch on, which is really interesting and when we've been doing the research, is actually playing a musical instrument. So it takes it that step further from listening to music and songs and dancing and things, but actually.

They say that playing a musical instrument is very similar from a child being multilingual because of the skills that it [00:19:00] develops in the brain, if that makes sense. Yeah. So there was a study done by a scientist, um, called Nina. Her last name is K-R-A-U-S. Kraus Kraus. Kraus Kraus, the Nina Kraus, and I apologize if I've said that wrong.

Um, who did studies and it shows that playing an instrument is a whole body workout. Okay. Which you don't think. Yeah.

Lucy Mills: When, I suppose when you're doing it,

Emily Macfarlane: you'll just, and when you see someone playing a musical instrument and they make it look so effortless, you don't think about the brain connections that they're using.

Yeah. So when a child is, um, playing an instrument, they're not only using their hands and their ears. To listen to what they're doing and play the actual instrument. They are using attention skills because they've got to pay really close attention to what they're doing. Both hands could be doing different things.

Yeah, that's, that's depending on what instrument you playing. Yeah. Yeah. You're playing the piano. You could be on this hand is doing something, this [00:20:00] hand is doing something and they have to blend

Lucy Mills: together to listen. That's probably the hardest part of playing the piano. Yeah. Trying to control both hands at once.

Yeah. Because

Emily Macfarlane: you, that's the attention to detail. Yeah. The memory that comes with it. If you are playing something that you've learned, it's like singing. You remember the lyrics. Yeah. It's the same with playing the instrument. And then the cognitive development that comes with it, because you have to learn this skill and your brain is making those neurological connections to cement those synapses.

And it's really like everything's going on. Yeah.

Lucy Mills: You've you've got to do everything literally all at once. All at once. Do you play an instrument? I used to play the piano and I also play the violin for a little bit as well. Yeah. And I'm just about to start playing the ukulele. I'm gonna give it a go. I'm gonna try, I'm gonna try.

Emily Macfarlane: I learned the, well the recorder. In primary school. 'cause I feel like everybody, everybody learns the record elder. Um, and then I also learned guitar. Um, and I loved it. I remember absolutely loving it. And I recently donated my guitar to a preschool. [00:21:00] It lasted a couple of months, but it's been loved and moved on now before

Lucy Mills: they, it, uh, gave them an experience.

Emily Macfarlane: It did. And yeah, then that is exposure to it. 'cause how many children in preschools and twos and things. Have experience with actual instruments. We all have the musical instrument sets with tambourines and triangles and shakers and those sounds, which are fantastic for children. But actually have we exposed them to bigger and a more diverse group of instruments?

Yeah, definitely.

Lucy Mills: If that makes any sense. Yeah. 'cause they don't really get exposure to that, do they? No. Within, within the setting? No. And I guess if, say if parents don't play an instrument or Yeah. Siblings or anything, don't. Haven't really got an interest in that. No, they won't get that exposure.

Emily Macfarlane: The family that come to mind for me is the Fletcher family.

Tom Fletcher from Moly. Yeah. Because all three of his sons play a musical instrument Yeah. Along. And they've like joined him on stage and things. And you think that actually those [00:22:00] young boys have learned the skills of playing an instrument so young. Yeah. And that the neurological and, and they probably don't even realize how impactful

it is on their brain

Lucy Mills: development. Yeah, that's true. I suppose when they're, when they're playing, when they learn their strength, they wouldn't, they wouldn't have even known. No.

Emily Macfarlane: But they've been exposed to music from a really young age, so it's, it's just been in their life. Yeah. So playing music was probably a natural root for them, although I'm sure it wasn't forced upon them, but actually being, having that exposure to playing an instrument has given them the brain development that they probably didn't

Even the parents probably didn't even realize was Yeah. Was happening.

Lucy Mills: It's helped 'em with different life skills and things. Yeah, yeah.

Emily Macfarlane: Like the literacy that comes with it, the math that comes with it. The patience from learning an instrument is huge as well. 'cause

Lucy Mills: that could be frustrating, I guess the confidence as well of, you know, they've Yeah.

Able to learn that instrument and they're very obsessed about it. It gives 'em such a confidence space. Yeah.

Emily Macfarlane: And like watching their dad and his band on stage [00:23:00] must be like an aspiration. Yeah, definitely. So it's all of those different things that have just come into being exposed to musical instruments from birthing, being engaged.

Yeah, yeah. And live music and things. And I think live music, the power of live music sometimes is underestimated. Definitely. Yeah. There's nothing better than going to a constant having. And having a Boogie, if

Lucy Mills: I'm honest. Everyone loves a Boogie . Exactly. I think

Emily Macfarlane: the line if they don't Oh yeah, a hundred percent.

Um, yeah, so creating music, so making music itself actually promotes creativity, precision in language and mathematics. Like we just spoke about fine motor skills and it's actually engaging different parts of the brain. So making music. Whether it be in the setting with your tambourines or your shakers or on a stage in a band, yeah.

You are using multiple parts of your brain from both sides of the hemispheres that you are using to create that music. And using these links of the two [00:24:00] hemispheres facilitates quicker and more diverse information to travel through the brain. So you're literally enhancing your brain development just by playing some music?

Yeah, just by making music with instruments.

Lucy Mills: It's crazy to think about actually, isn't it? Yeah. How, how much impact you're having on yourself. Yeah. Just by making, making some music

Emily Macfarlane: and doing something that's hopefully good that you feel good. Yeah. At the same time. So overall benefits for music for young children, we've got emotional regulation and stress reduction, which we talked about.

Yeah. Which is always apparent with, I think

Lucy Mills: that's so important for children as well because . They don't know how to cope with their emotions at that age. They, they just don't understand what to do. No. So actually, if we can give them that tool to help them, we're kind of setting them up for the, I guess, the rest of their life to learn how to cope with emotions.

Exactly. They don't just stop. When you get older, no. You have emotions throughout your whole entire life, so that I think it's so important to give them those tools at such [00:25:00] a young age to cope with them further on. Yeah,

Emily Macfarlane: we've got that chemical boost that happens in the brain when you're listening and using music in your everyday.

The enhancement of productivity and concentration when you have got music, if you say your calming music helps with that productivity of lunchtime. . It can boost learning because we've talked about the different areas of learning that it all comes into, you develop spatial intelligence and increase of creativity and vocabulary, and it's right from that young age of increasing that vocabulary with children.

But on the flip side, there can be some negatives to music in an early years environment.

Lucy Mills: Yes. I think sometimes actually having music on can be really overstimulating. Yeah. So I think it depends on the situation you're in. The energy of your children, how they're feeling. But I know for myself, if I walk in a room and there's, say there's lights flashing, and it's a, it's a busy room and there's music going on.

[00:26:00] It's just too much. Yeah. I myself can't cope with it. So , I can't expect my children to either. Yeah. Um, but yeah, I think it can be really quite overstimulated at times. So it's about working out where it works and when to kind of reading the

Emily Macfarlane: room. Yeah, definitely read the room if everyone is screaming and you've got ABBA blaring and it is not for the children, it's for you.

And you've got lights on and musical instruments, and if that's not the right time for it. Yeah. It's understanding that actually people are gonna get quite overwhelmed by this. Yes, definitely. And it's, I guess having the confidence to reflect on that and say, this isn't the right

Lucy Mills: time. Yeah. I think that's when reflective practice comes in and you kind of look back and say, Hmm, okay, maybe that music wasn't the right music for that time.

No, it might even be just changing the music that you've got on. Because obviously there is so many different types of music and it Yeah. And it, they can relate to so many different situations. So again, like you said, it's just about reading the room and seeing kind of what's going on. Yeah. Um, and then going from there really any other [00:27:00] negative being thought.

Um, also I think sometimes singing and making music come become a bit of a time filler. So children tend to then kind of disengage, they get bored, and actually that's when you're going to see that more kind of negative behavior because they're not doing something they're interested in. No. Just kind of being sat down to sing a song just for the sake of filling five or 10 minutes.


Emily Macfarlane: Yeah. It becomes sort of part of the routine. And there's like of course sing. Yeah. If you're singing constantly.

Lucy Mills: Yeah. If you do it all the part game. Yeah. They, you know, they pick that up. They will, they will start doing it and they'll be much more interested in it rather than kind of. being, I don't wanna say forced, but kind of being encouraged to sit down and Yeah.

Emily Macfarlane: Some songs, and we do have to have those group times of before lunch. We all have to regroup and get ready for lunch. Yeah. But if songs are only in that time, they're gonna have a negative Yeah,

Lucy Mills: definitely. They're gonna image of it. When they hear a song, they're gonna think of that time. Yeah. And think, oh, we were sat there [00:28:00] not really doing much.

Mm-Hmm. . And then they're not gonna be interested in it. No.

Emily Macfarlane: I know there's, um, the preschool that use walking through the jungle and it is like an immersive experience, , because everyone's up being these animals and that's how music should be explored. Yeah, definitely. You, you can't walk through a jungle sat on a carpet.

No. That just doesn't work.

Lucy Mills: So I think also with different types of music, kind of allowing the children to move as they want to, to the music, you know? Yeah. Every child is different. They're gonna interpret the music slightly differently to each other. Yeah. So actually it's giving them the opportunity to express it in the way that they want to.

Yeah. Rather than just saying, right, we're gonna sit here, we're gonna sing. Yeah. That's what we're gonna do. That's what

Emily Macfarlane: this music's about. Yeah. So a couple of ways that you can use music in your earliest environment. We can't talk about yoga. Yeah.

Lucy Mills: I like, I quite like to do yoga even, even with, um, so I work with the two year olds in my setting.

Even with the two year olds, they are actually really good after it. And they, they love it because it's, it's a way for them to express [00:29:00] themselves. They can make any movements they want. And actually sometimes just having that calm music on and doing these different movements, they kind of, I've did it before where I where they were all kind of playing and it was getting a bit busy and they were all getting a bit hyped up and I just put Calmes Con and I just started doing yoga in the middle of the room and they all kind of stopped and was like.

Oh, what are you doing? And then they joined in and they were engaged with it for about 20 minutes. I was doing yoga for about 20 minutes with them, with two year olds. Yeah, it was, honestly, I was like, oh, okay, . Um, but they loved it and it was such a good way to kind of bring them back down, bring that energy back down.

Yeah. Um, but yeah,

Emily Macfarlane: I think another great way to bring music in is having musical instruments, not just in one area. Definitely. Yeah. So like having musical instruments in your small world area. If they're talking about how an elephant stomps, can you make a musical sound that relates to that or outside?

Like just be having the confidence to move your resources to enhance learning in different ways.

Lucy Mills: Yeah, definitely. [00:30:00] And I think also putting songs into different activities. Yeah. Your songs don't have to just be just a song. No, it can be in anything you do. So like if we take our children for a walk. We often do like walking in the jungle and things like that, through the grass, through the jungle, through the trees.

And actually they enjoy it so much more and they engage with it so much more because it's delinked

Emily Macfarlane: into something. It's like the sheep, they're probably fed up a baba sheep every time a child walks past them, but unfortunately, it's the real life link.

Lucy Mills: It is, yeah. And actually they enjoy it so much more when it's a more of a practical thing.

Yeah. And they can get involved in it, and it's linked to every single thing that they do. Yeah,

Emily Macfarlane: and I think it's, like you said, it, it. Bringing it to life, bringing music to life, and it's not just sat on the carpet singing, which is things you will do. You we're not saying don't ever sell on the carpet and sing, but how interactive and how fun can you make it?

Rather than let's all just sit and

Lucy Mills: sing. Yeah. It is important to kind of regroup and bring that together, but also making it, making that a learning experience, not just a [00:31:00] time where they just

Emily Macfarlane: sit there. Yeah. Not just a gap of time. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. So. That has been mine and Lucy's take on music. I hope it's been informative and reflective on kind of how important music is in early

Lucy Mills: years.

I just think music can be in everything you do. Yeah. I use it all day, every day. I'm always kind of making, say, if I'm asking to wash their hands, I make it into a song. Yeah. It just

Emily Macfarlane: is what Wash your hands,

Lucy Mills: wash your hands. But actually that has so many benefits to them. I just think using music in early years is so important.

Emily Macfarlane: Yeah. It can be used in so many different ways as well. Yeah, definitely. Perfect. Well, thank you everyone for listening. I hope you have found that you can take away from it. Um, and let us know if there's any major topics that you want to talk or hear us talk about or give us your questions and we can hopefully bring some insight into any of the early years questions that you, you might have.[00:32:00]

So I will see you next week for another episode. And thank you so, so much for listening again, and I hope everyone

Lucy Mills: has a fantastic week.

Emily Macfarlane: Bye bye.

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The Early Years Network Team

Nov 20, 2023 • 33 Mins min read

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