Collaboration in the Music Studio

One priority for music specialists in a Reggio Emilia inspired school is the importance of building the essentials of a solid early childhood music education while remaining open to collaborate with classroom teaching teams, parents, children and the environment. As the children listen to music they typically respond to what they are hearing through moving their bodies in some way. Sometimes they are focused on their own experience and sometimes they communicate with their bodies a movement “dialogue” between themselves, their teachers, and their classmates. This is an important form of collaboration as their unique contribution to the listening and movement activity is noticed by the rest of the group and who are then invited to either match an individual’s movements or add our own movement ideas – which broadens the repertoire of movement possibilities for all of us. This is done with very few, or no words. The language of music is spoken in this way. This is a lovely example of how we gain ideas and share ideas when we’re fully present and available for each other. Often times our movement dialogue choreographs to the music as we authentically respond to what we are hearing and feeling as we listen, which is spontaneous and very meaningful.

If we’re investigating a story book or ballad with the intent of moving this to a creative dramatic experience or a sound effect study, we collaborate as a studio group (the children, the specialists and the attending classroom teacher) to develop these springboard elements into a unique-to-each-class experience using the thoughts and ideas of all present at the music session under the guidance of the music specialist.Collaborating with classroom teachers outside of the music studio typically happens when a solid in-depth investigation is happening in the classroom. If it makes sense to consider a musical response to a classroom investigation we will meet as a team and put our heads together to support the work happening in the classroom. Many times an idea, concept or content from the music studio inspires further investigation in the classroom and/or the art studio.

Vivaldi’s 1st movement of Spring provided a wonderful opportunity to support the Purple Room’s investigation of the human body. The children shared what they knew about the body and we used this information to guide our listening map work (a tool used to organize music).

In addition, we collaborate within the actual music studio space/environment through open ended provocation exploration. A favorite form of collaboration happens when we spend time jamming with each other. The children use rhythm instruments, tonal instruments and movement props such as scarves or ribbons and the music specialist is usually at the piano. This is a most authentic form of true music making; collaboration as a music making ensemble. We must listen to each other’s contribution to the jam session balancing our sounds, tempo, rhythms and dynamics as our many “voices” create one song.

Reflection by Ann McDermott, Music Specialist