Music education for young children
Forms and activities
Music education for young children is offered privately through classes and music organizations or integrated into educations private and public schools. Activities and classes can start as early as prenatally or newborn  and in private education, music programs are often integrated in as early as preschool. Early childhood music education in public school settings widely varies, but music programs have been established in some schools starting in kindergarten even in remote areas.
Most early childhood music education is accomplished through parent or teacher guided interactive play. Prenatal activities can include singing and playing music so that it can be heard in the womb and continued on with newborns. From birth, children can listen to music and observe other children in music classes and participate in tactile and parent assisted activities. With parental assistance, infants can partake in body movement and rhythm exercises to sung songs and recorded music and through play. As these children develop independent motor skills, they progress to doing these activities on their own. Infants and toddlers are often encouraged to sing and explore rhythm through body movements and percussion instruments such as egg shakers, drums, and xylophones. As young children progress, activities can include concepts that introduce counting, solfege, and notation. Some programs then allow for young children to shift easily into more formalized dance and instrumental instruction starting at a very early age.
In Germany, there is usually one weekly session lasting 45 minutes. Participants may sing songs, look at and try out musical instruments, try some dancing motions and more. The atmosphere is usually casual and playful. A number of simpler musical instruments have been used extensively with children, including bongo drums, simple xylophones, lummi sticks, recorders, and tambourines.
Pedagogies of early childhood music education
Several pedagogies exist which promote specific methods of training young children in music including Orff, Kodály, Dalcroze, and the Suzuki Method are among the most widely recognized of these methods. Many of these pedagogies share commonalities such as music and rhythm development through body movements, folk songs, aural training, and belief that music literacy from an early age is beneficial. Each is known for particular characteristics, such as in Dalcroze Eurhythmics the use of lifelong body movement and expression through music and private instrumental instruction as early as age two in the Suzuki Method. institutions and teachers often use a combination of these pedagogies even if they might be affiliated with only one.
Studies done on children who have had a musical background, have shown that it increases brain function as well as brain stimulation. When children are exposed to music from other countries and cultures, they are able to learn about the instrument while at the same time being educated about a different part of the world.
The Afghan Children's Songbook Project is a project in the United States focused on preserving and returning traditional Afghan songs, eradicated by the Taliban. This project aims to raise awareness about the importance of learning traditional songs, and of the role they can play in teaching tolerance and cultural understanding, for a group of third to fifth graders in Connecticut. The students learned firsthand about bias and prejudice, and some students shifted their initial beliefs and gained a better cultural understanding of the Afghan people.
- Agardy, Susanna (1985), Young Australians and Music, Australian Broadcasting Tribunal, Melbourne. ISBN 0-642-09805-0
- Campell, Don (2000). The Mozart Effect for Children. New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers, Inc.
- Cutietta, Robert A.; ill. by Harvey Mercadoocasio (2001). Raising Musical Kids: A Guide for Parents. 198 Madison Ave., New York, NY, 10016: Oxford University Press, Inc. pp. 18–33. ISBN 0-19-512923-7.
- Chastain, Dr. Jacob; Rev. Jessica Brooks (2007). Lessons Learned in Larsen. Bourbonnais, IL: Olivet Nazarene University Press, Inc.