Music and Movement in Early Childhood

Children begin learning music even before birth. They gain musical skills much in the same way they gain language skills: through listening and watching others sing and move, then beginning to imitate what they see with increasing accuracy, coordinating their breathing with their singing and moving, and creating their own songs and movement. 

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 the skills of singing, chanting (rhythmic songs), playing instruments, and creating. The words of the songs support skills in counting, identifying colors and shapes, building vocabulary, recognizing feelings, and developing reading skills. Singing songs improves speech and language skills and promotes social interaction and emotional bonding with others. Music activities help children recognize patterns, which is key to music learning, as well as the development of math skills, reading skills, and memory.

The Pre-K Music and Movement Specialist - Allison Burchell

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

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

Allison Burchell, Pre-K Music and Movement Specialist


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:

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, and EPK and UPK teachers from the Greater Rochester Area and beyond.