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Rhythm Activity for Preschoolers – Short and Long

Rhythm Activity for Preschoolers
Rhythm Activity for Preschoolers

In this blog post I will provide you with a rhythm activity for preschoolers that focuses on short sounds and long sounds.

Often when a young beginner starts piano lessons, teachers start by opening a piano method book, begin to explain the music notation, and expect the student to understand what they mean. But I have found the difficult job of teaching kids to read music is made much easier by allowing them to experience the concepts over and over before asking them to understand the more abstract notation symbols.

Teaching rhythm is more engaging by using plenty of movement activities and games. Games allow kids to feel successful and learn through play. And that is what preschoolers do best! Play!

How to Teach Short and Long Sounds to a Preschooler

Preschoolers can usually identify objects that are short and long. So, to teach short and long sounds to a preschooler you can use a visual, like an animal, that is long (a snake or an alligator for example) and the child can understand that it is a long creature. Likewise, if they see an ant or a puppy, they can see that it is not a long creature. Then we can call it short (the opposite). So let’s start with what children already know to help them understand and draw parallels to the music symbols they do not know.

Kids really do learn by moving. So playing instruments, marching, stomping, drumming, clapping, vocalizing are some ways kids can experience a short sound in their body.

Experiencing long sounds by taking giant steps, sliding a hand down the arm, playing an instrument like a triangle (or other instrument) that will continue its sound long after the instrument is struck, or vocalizing are some ways kids can experience a short sound.

Are Reading Based Piano Lessons Good for Preschoolers?

Everyone is excited when young children begin reading. But let me point out… many kids struggle with reading at young ages. So, are reading based piano lessons good for preschoolers? More often than not, we are expecting higher level academic progress of young children at younger and younger ages. And while some children experience joy from reading in preschool, many do not. I wrote another blog post about this here.

Reading music is much more difficult skill to master. Not only do children have to identify the note value, they must also learn what note on the staff it represents. On top of that, they must learn where that note on the staff coordinates on the piano. And then they have to have the fine motor skills to play that note.

Whew! That’s a lot to have to understand instantly from reading music. It’s not easy for older elementary students, so it’s definitely a much slower, step by step process for preschoolers! Play based learning, movement, singing, non-reading, experiential learning, rote music, and more will build a solid foundation for young children that will springboard them to understanding as they grow and mature.

Rhythm Activity for Preschoolers AND Animal Lovers

So let’s go back to the beginning.

  • Use ideas and concepts that young children already know
  • Let’s teach music experientially so they can apply their experiences and what they already know to music symbols later.
  • Preschoolers need repetition to cement the experiences in their body. Don’t be in a rush to move forward. Use rhythm acitivities and games over and over.
  • Visuals can help guide a rhythm activity for preschoolers and young beginners.
Rhythm Activity for Preschoolers

Animal Lovers is an experiential rhythm activity for preschoolers which contains visuals of creatures kids already know. These visuals help young children experience short and long sounds. I am offering this product for free for signing up on my email list where I offer a lot of extra free piano and music teaching resources to parents and teachers of young children every month. Check out my video to see these cards in action, and get your FREE Rhythm Activity below!

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Rhythm Activity for Preschoolers
Rhythm Activity for Preschoolers
Rhythm Activity for Preschoolers

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