Every Saturday, Music Crossroads Academy Zimbabwe (MCAZ) offers music classes to young children.
MCA Zimbabwe has been exploring various means of making the Saturday children’s music classes an exciting musical adventure.
Children learn by observing and imitating. Free movement with rhythm instruments is always allowed and the teachers use a lot of repetition, with limited explanations. Making the classes more fun, allowing them to learn through play. At the end of the session, all children get to play all instruments on offer. Instruments include bass, guitar, drums, piano, mbira, marimba, recorder, voice, etc.
Over time, they will be able to identify their instrument of choice and by the end of the term start specializing in it.
The teachers follow a routine each week that they engage children in music classes. They have been consistent with this pattern, so the children have grown so accustomed to the uniformity of activities that they know what comes next and are always ready and eager to tackle each activity as it comes. The programme becomes more innovative and changes more frequently with the older students as they are quicker to adapt.
One of the MCAZ’s female teachers, Prudence Katomene-Mbofana, is the teacher for our youngest class of 4- to 8-year-olds. She plays to them on the keyboard, chants popular animal sounds and asks the learners to follow suit, thumping their feet on the floor and imitating the movement of the animals. The children listen to the beat and subsequently make one animal sound after the other. In essence, this teaches the students how to control their voices, as well as how to have power over their voice projection, in line with sounds produced from a particular musical instrument. For example, the energetic young class is able to identify the trumpeting of the elephant, the roaring of the lion, the chirping of a bird and other animal sounds and movements.
To the toddlers and pre-schoolers in Prudence’s class, this exercise is filled with fun, a learning activity that is always entertaining in an educative way.
Originally published on 21 June 2016 by Music Crossroads.