Music Building Blocks

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Music and Movement in Early Childhood

Children begin learning music at birth. They gain musical skills much in the same way they gain language skills: by listening and watching others utilize the skills, then exploring those skills independently and with others. Musical exploration is often "play-based" and includes vocal, instrumental, and movement experiences. High-quality music and movement experiences include music from a wide variety of genres and cultures, and teachers are encouraged to use "authentic" music rather than music marketed for early childhood educators to ensure that children always have high-quality models.

Early music and movement experiences build upon the developmental needs of children. Activities are scaffolded to help children progress at their own rate, while striving toward a common goal. Through music activities in the PreK classroom children learn to count, identify colors and shapes, build vocabularly, recognize feelings, and develop reading skills. Singing songs improves speech and language skills and propmotes social interaction and emotional bonding with others. Music activities help children recognize patterns, which is key to the development of math and reading skills, as well as memory.

The Music Building Blocks Program

The Purpose of the Music Building Blocks Program

The Music Building Blocks program has been a part of the Rochester City School District UPK and EPK programs for over 20 years. In that time, we have developed a curriculum to encourage teachers to:

  • Provide students in UPK and EPK programs access to quality music experiences aligned to the PreK Core Arts Standards

  • Use music as a tool to establish classroom routines such as greeting, transition, and dismissal time.

  • Promote learning by integrating music and movement into the Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies curriculum.

The PreK Music and Movement Specialist

The PreK Music and Movement Specialist works with classroom teachers, providing support and modeling activities. This includes:

  • Helping teachers choose and learn songs, movements, and activities that enhance learning across subject areas.

  • Helping teachers create music resources and centers for their classrooms.

  • Modeling songs and activities in the classroom.

  • Participating in teacher-designed classroom activities to support arts integration in the classroom.

  • Maintaining instructional support through the use of online communication (e-mail, website, blog, etc...) and professional learning opportunities.


Allison Burchell, PreK Music and Movement Specialist

Content for this website was created by Allison Burchell and former Music Building Blocks Teachers Ashley Moss Fox, M'Lou Speranza, Grace Wetzel, and Denise Ondishko. Additional contributions have been made by early childhood music teachers, EPK, and UPK teachers from the Greater Rochester Area and beyond.