Summertime. Encouraging Musical Play in the Outdoor Environment

Wednesday 20th January 2016
– Julie Wylie

Summer holidays are the perfect time and opportunity for you and your children to spend time playing and exploring outside. Your role is to be an encourager taking time with your child, experiencing a sense of wonder as you listen and explore together. The natural environment is a source of inspiration for creativity and aesthetic experiences so vital for us and for our children’s physical and healthy development.
Children and their parents or teachers can be inspired as they have regular outdoor listening activities together. As they listen to the sounds of birds, insects, water, waves, children learn to discriminate where sounds are coming from, identify what is making the sounds, listen to rhythmic patterns of nature, watching, listening and enjoying quiet moments together. Children value and become connected to nature as they explore, see, hear, feel and appreciate all the elements of nature.
A playground provides opportunities to engage in vigorous and complex movements as children swing, climb, creep and explore a range of sensory experiences. Outdoor play gives opportunities for children to be free to explore at their own pace, to enjoy quiet moments and become attuned to nature. Natural materials such as shells, driftwood, leaves, stones can be used as instruments, or to create a visual score. Set stones out in a rhythmic pattern: stones, stone, little stones, listen to my tapping stones. Tap two big stones together and notice the low sound. Tap two medium stones together and listen to the medium sound, little stones tapped together make a higher sound.

Observation of creatures that move, watching movement patterns of nature such as the waves ebbing and flowing at the beach, wind blowing through the branches of a tree can inspire the child to copy the movement patterns observed. Language skills develop as the child learns to describe the contrasting movements: graceful as a deer, light as a butterfly, quick as a cricket, as slithery as a snake, as slow as a turtle.
The child’s world is transformed through use of the imagination. The child can  can become the butterfly, the snake, the turtle. Many ways of moving are experienced as s/he creeps, hops, flies, gallops, skips along.  Spatial movement  is experienced at different levels, music appreciation, timing, problem solving and cognitive skills are learned. Enjoy sharing time together, listening, watching, waiting, letting the mind roam free as you wonder and reflect upon the marvels of nature.

Testimonials

It is true that you can’t get enough of a good thing. My daughter fell in love with Julie Wylie’s Musical Play classes and at home she would “practise” with great gusto what she learned week to week. Her enjoyment of the songs, the actions that accompany them and the playing of instruments filled much of her time and from her bedroom we could hear her “being Julie”, in full voice!!

So naturally Julie’s DVD’s and CD’s were  a must have for Clara-Jane!!

The Julie Wylie Musical Journeys DVD quickly became the most played DVD in our home. For Clara-Jane to be able to watch, participate and learn, whenever she wanted to, in the comfort of her own home,  just added to her love of Julie’s programme.

The DVD is beautifully put together. Presented by the very tutors that the children already have a warm connection to, and featuring songs that are already familiar makes it highly accessible. The learning is in context and it beautifully complements the learning in class. Even the much-loved Oscar the clown, who opens and closes each class, is present. Clara-Jane just loves watching the children as they, so naturally, and in everyday locations  doing everyday activities, find fun and pleasure in things musical.

I have to admit that I equally enjoy the DVD. It is engaging, encouraging, and undeniably catchy. Neither Clara-Jane nor I have tired of it and we have played it literally hundreds of times.

Perhaps the best testament to just how appealing the DVD is became clear when Clara-Jane was unwell following her immunizations and she took to her bed. The only thing she wanted was to do was watch “Julie on TV”, and even feeling under the weather  she still sang the tunes!!

Julie’s CD’s also enjoy huge “play time” in our home and in our cars. It simply would not be Christmas without the “Sing Merry Christmas” CD which is a wonderful combination of children’s favourites, old and new, and rich traditional carols. To hear our daughter singing songs she had never heard before, adding her own (hilarious) actions and then creating “Christmas concerts” for us to enjoy is priceless. “When Santa Came Down The Chimney” is a favourite and like many of the songs, it captured her imagination. A great feature of Julie’s CD’s is the fact that many songs are sung by children, making them relevant and accessible for young listeners.

The joy Julie’s DVD’s and CD’s have brought into our daughter’s life is matched only by the learning they have fostered. Quite simply they bring Julie’s programme to life for any child, whether they are fortunate enough to attend Julie’s classes or not. They have played a significant role in Clara-Jane’s life and learning and they have given us huge pleasure as we watch her growing appreciation and love of music.

Sarah Long, Parent
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