Made in

November 2019

Music in preschool music education is often associated with the eyes. Something we see very often now also in contemporary music, performances that not only seek to satisfy the ears but also the eyes and often as many senses as there are available. 


Making music concrete, giving music meaning to understand it, to place it within a certain cultural context is logical. Music is a time art and has an elusive quality. The use of different kinds of (musical)  material is a sine qua non in the preschool music education class. However, the quantity, origin and cultural ethical connotations need to be addressed. Too much stuff might be distractive because less attention goes to auditive elements.


Often we encounter lovely, and by design attractive, pictures of young children with very bright coloured musical instruments. An incentive to join a course/session. Nevertheless, many of these flashy looking glockenspiels are very much out of tune. Also music presented this way will be a priori defined by lovely bright coloured musical instruments, most likely becoming an undesired inherent element.


Besides the matter that the actual use of material in the preschool music education lesson is a question of debat, simply buying a new toy car has become complicated. The activity itself for which the toy car is meant ticks all the musical growth boxes and is very attractive for the children to participate in. A closer look at the bottom of a small car informs that it has been made in China, not the most ethical of regimes. The toy being a car in the current climate crises, with huge traffic jams the children see in the streets, might not convey the right message. And most likely the car will contain plastic in some form. 


Musical framework conditions are an essential part of daily teaching within a contemporary setting with all its political and environmental problems and therefore I think the origins of our music education actions and thoughts needs to be challenged.