How parents and teachers can USE CD/MP3 PLAYERS TO ENHANCE LEARNING

Top 10 activities for mixing kids and music.
-by Margie La Bella at
The big point is this: You can use your CD player like an instrument. It has stop/go and loud/soft capabilities.  You can also turn the volume off  for a favorite phrase or phrase you want to teach and have the children “fill in” the lyrics- – that’ll prompt language and participation.  Those are two bonus biggies.  TRY IT. You’ll like it!
1.Use the CD play button and pause button to make the music “go” and “freeze.”  Have the children play their instruments, stop, then resume. 
 2.Use the CD volume button to lead the class in playing “loud” and “soft.” Mix this skill with the “go” and “freeze” mentioned above. This fosters improved auditory awareness and attention
 3. Have the kids do a series of turn taking songs.  Use the play and pause buttons of your CD player to signal when turns begin and end.  Have the kids play under certain language characteristics and say things like “play if you’re a boy/if you’re a girl,” and “play if  you are 3 years old.” Repeat with the 4s and 5s.  How about playing if you’re wearing certain clothing items, or by the colors of your clothes?
See how this teaches peer awareness, colors, clothing vocab….. the list goes on      
and on.  What is it you want to teach?  Play games like this one.
 4.  Another turn taking game is to have the kids play depending on how their  
instrument is made. Turn the CD on and tell the kids to play if their instrument is                  made from plastic, wood, metal, or is homemade…
 5. Take turns and share the music depending on how you play the instrument.
Have the shakers play first. Then the tapping instruments play. Then the rubbing instruments and on and on.
 6. Play under certain conditions: for example, if you like to play basketball, or if you like to eat ice cream, or spinach.  If you have a June birthday, or meet some other condition. 
 7. Here’s another new type of idea. Have the kids march to music (and play their instruments) around a group of pictures of shapes, colors, numbers, site-words or any other picture representing something you want to teach.  The kids march to the music and when the music stops, they identify the picture of the object in front of them. Use chairs or a table or rugs to place the pictures on if the kids need more structure than just the floor.    
 8. Play musical hot-potato.  Pass a maraca (or two or three) around the circle. When the music stops, that child has to answer a question.  Use to teach concepts. Examples: what do we wear on a rainy day. What animal do you like.  What animal lives at the zoo? What toy do you play with? (You can write them out ahead of time.) Variation:  Or simply have the kids who end up with the “hot potato” come to the center of the group to play other instruments along to the music. Repeat with the next hot potato child coming to play with the music.
 9. Play instruments and pass them when the music stops. Too hard? When the music stops take the instrument of the last child, then tell the next-to-last child to give her old one away. Repeat down the line.  Give the instrument in your hand to the last child.
 10. Play along to part of a favorite song. Then have the kids put the instruments under their chairs and put their hands in their lap.  Give them a one-step direction (“clap your hands”, or “tap your knees”)  and have them do that for a little while.  Then repeat over and over with different directions/requests.  Have them come up with their own ideas of how to move. 
See you don’t have to go near a guitar or even sing!  Go have fun and give it a try.
Be careful with picking a song that’s too fast for your group; they will probably get over excited.  Also be a little wary of song lyrics and content. Listen to the words and only use it if you don’t mind them telling the parents that they learned the words in school. Even some kids music and music from kid’s shows and movies can be inappropriate for some groups. 

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