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The steady and ever present pulse of the music. Awareness of beat is fundamental to understanding the rhythm of the music. It is the beat that you march with, clap with and dance to when you respond to music.


Loud, quiet, medium, getting louder (crescendo), getting softer (diminuendo), accent-sudden increase in volume.

Form and phrasing

The structure of design of a piece of music. Binary form where music consists of two major parts: Part A and Part B. Ternary form where music consists of three parts: A, B and A again. Part A repeats and Part B is different. An example of this form is A – Chorus, B – Verse, A – Chorus. Rondo form where music consists of many parts with one part, Part A, always remaining the same. Each new part is followed by Part A (music returns to Part A. A B A C A D

Loco-motor movement

Involves moving the whole body from one place to another: walking, running, hopping, crawling, creeping, jumping, sliding, skating, trotting, whirling, swaying.


The tune of a song. The flow of tones of different pitches organised in a rhythmically meaningful way. It is the melody or tune of a piece that usually helps us to recognise it. It is the melody or tune of a song that we hum. Each tune of a song has its own unique melody. A melody has tones of varying rhythms. Some tones of the melody's rhythm are longer than other tones. Some melodies have words; some do not. A melody with words is called a song. A melody without words is called a tune (or a theme, piece, composition). A melody has many tonal patterns ¬organised groups of tones that give the melody its unique characteristics.

Non-locomotor movement or axial

The feet remain stationary while other parts of the body move: bending, twisting, bouncing, shaking, reaching, clapping.


A German word for which there is no succinct English equivalent, describing the sound gesture of thigh slapping (slapping the thighs with one or both hands in a relaxed and bouncing way). It is used in rhythmic exercises and for the preparation of instrument playing.


Sounds are high or low in relation to each other. High, low, medium, the same, getting higher/lower.

Rhythm / rhythmic pattern

The long and short tones of the music. That aspect of music concerned not with pitch but with the distribution of notes in time and their accentuation. Chanting and rap are examples of rhythmic speech When we break words into syllables and say them to a steady beat, accenting (saying louder) some of the syllables, we are speaking rhythmically.

Sound gestures

The separate or combined actions of finger snapping, hand clapping, thigh slapping, foot stamping.


Refers to the speed of the music—fast, slow, getting faster, getting slower. Some pieces of music are relatively slow moving; some are relatively fast moving. Many pieces keep the same tempo throughout; some pieces have few or frequent changes of tempo. Changes in a piece's tempo affect the speed of the music's beat or pulse; the faster the piece, the faster the beat or pulse. Changes in a piece's tempo affect the music's mood. In general, the faster the tempo, the more irritated and/or frenzied is the mood; the slower the tempo, the calmer and more restful is the mood.

Timbre / tone colour

the unique sound made by each instrument, each voice or each object. Timbre refers to the quality of the sound—what enables you to tell one person's voice from another

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Text resources

ABC Enterprises (2001) The Song 2001 Book, ABC, Australia

ABC Enterprises, 1992, The Best of Sing and Play, [Booklet & sound recording] ABC, Australia.

Andress B (1991) ‘From Research to Practice: Preschool Children and Their Movement Responses to Music’ Young Children, 1991, 22-27.

Arthur, Beecher, B, Death, L, Dockett, S, Farmer, S, 2008, Programming and Planning in Early Childhood Settings, 4th edn, Thomson Social Science Press, Melbourne, Victoria.

Australian Breastfeeding Association, 2001, Merrily Merrily: A Book of Songs and Rhymes for Babies and Young Children, 4th edn, The Association, Victoria.

Australian Government Department of Education, Workplace Relations for the Council of Australian Governments, 2009, Belonging, Being and Becoming: the Early Years Learning Framework, Commonwealth of Australia, ACT.

Bayless K and Ramsey M (1987) Music: A way of life for the young child, Merrill Publishing, Columbus, Ohio.

Bayless K M and Ramsey M E (1991) Music: A way of life for the young child (4th edn), Prentice Hall, NJ

Beall, P C, & Nipp, S H, 1992, Wee Sing: Rhymes for Play, Budget books, Melbourne.

Birkenshaw L (1977) Music for fun, music for learning. Holt, Rinehart and Winstron of Canada Ltd., Toronto, Ontario

Boot, V. 1987, Integrating Dance in the Early Childhood Curriculum, AECA, Watson, ACT.

Brand M (1985) ‘Lullabies That Awaken Musicality in Infants’, Music Educators Journal, 1985, 828-31

Bridges, D, 1994, Music, Young Children and You: A Parent/teacher Guide to Music for 0-5 Year Olds, Hale & Iremonger, Sydney.

Cherry C (1971) Creative Movement for the Developing Child, David S Lake, Belmont, California, CA.

Clarke, H, 2003, The New Useful Book: Songs and Ideas from ABC Play School, updated edn, ABC Enterprises, Australia.

Clarke, V, 1991, High and Low Dolly Pepper, A and C Black, London

Crees, G and C, 1993, Off the Wall Dances for Young Children, [Book &CD], Manly , NSW

Crees, G and C, 1997, Songs From Around the World for Young Children, [Book & CD], Crees, Manly, NSW.

Crees, G and C, 2006, Yoga Play and Relaxation for Young Children, [Book and CD],Crees Manly, NSW

Darrow A A (1990) ‘The Role of Hearing in Understanding Music’. Music Educators Journal, 1990, 24-27.

Deiner P L (1983) Resources for Teaching Young Children With Special Needs, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York

Dodge D. T. Colker L. J. & Heroman, C. 2002, The Creative Curriculum for Early Childhood. 4th edn, Teaching Strategies Inc, Washington DC, USA.

Feierabend J (1986) Music for Very Little People, Boosey and Hawkes, New York, NY.

Flesch Connors, 2004, A 101 Rhythm Instrumental Ideas for Young Children, Gryphon House, Stout University of Wisconsin, USA

Flowers P J (1985) ‘How Children Communicate About Music’, Music Educators Journal, 44-76

Fox D B (1991) ‘Music, Development, and the Young Child’, Music Educators Journal, 42-46

Greenberg M (1979) Young Children Need Music Prentice Hall Inc. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey

Greenberg M (1979) Your Children Need Music: A guide for teachers and young children, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Greta, J, 2006, An Introduction to Music Education, Thomson Delmar Learning, Southbank, Victoria.

Haines, B, & Gerber, L, 2000, Leading Young Children to Music, 6th edn, Merrill, New Jersey, USA.

Hall N S and Rhomberg V (1995) The Affective Curriculum: Teaching the anti-bias approach to young children, International Thomson Publishing, Toronto, Canada

Harrop, B, Friend, L, & Gadsky, D, 1994, Okki-tokki-unga: Action Songs for Children. 2nd edn, A7C Black, London, UK.

Hoermann, D, & Bridges, D, 1988, Catch a Song, [Book & sound recording], Incentive publications, Nashville, USA.

Hoermann D and Bridges D (1985) Catch a Song, Education Supplies, Brookvale, NSW.

Isenberg, J. P. & Jalongo, M. R. 2001, Creative Expression and Play in Early Childhood, Merrill, Upper Saddle River, N.J.

Jackson, M. 1991, Rig-a-jig-jig! : Folk Dances for Younger Children (ages 3 to 7). Volumes 1 & 2, [Book & sound cassette], Bluegum Music, Mount Gravatt, Qld.

Jacobs Arthur The New Penguin Dictionary of Music, Penguin Books.

Kazez D (1985) ‘The Myth of Tone Deafness’, Music Educators Journal, 46-47

Machado, J. 2003, Early Childhood Experiences in Language Arts, 7th edn, Delmar Learning, London.

Matterson E (edn) (1969) This Little Puffin, Penguin, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, UK.

McDonald D T (1979) Music in Our Lives: The early years, National Association for the Education of Young Children, Washington, DC.

Nixon, D. & Aldwinckle, M. 2005, Exploring: Child Development from Three to Six Years, 2nd edn, Social Science Press, Katoomba, NSW.

Nixon, D. & Gould, K. 1999, Emerging: Child Development in the First Three Years,
2nd edn, Social Science Press, Katoomba, NSW.

Orff-Schulwerk M (1977) Music for Children. Orff-Schulwerk American Edition. Schott Music Corp., USA.

Russell-Bowie, D. 1991, Music is for Young Children Too! (0-5 years), 2nd edn, Karibuni Press, Milperra, NSW

Sanders, S. 2001, Active for Life: Developmentally Appropriate Movement Programs for Young Children. NAEYC, Washington, D.C.

Schiller P (1999) Start Smart! Building Brain Power in the Early Years. Gryphon House, Beltsville, Maryland.

Schiller P (1999) Start smart! Building brain power in the early years. Gryphon House, Beltsville, Maryland

Schiller, P and Moore, T, 1993, Where is Thumbkin, Gryphon House, Stout University of Wisconsin, USA.

Schiller, P and Moore, T, 2004, Do you Know the Muffin Man, Gryphon House, Stout University of Wisconsin, USA.

Scott C R (1989) ‘How Children Grow – Musically’. Music Educators Journal, 1989, 28-31

Silberg, J and Schiller, P, 2002, The Complete Book of Rhymes, Songs, Finger plays and Chants, Gryphon House, Stout University of Wisconsin, USA.

Silberg, J, 1998, I Can’t Sing Book, Gryphon House, Stout University of Wisconsin, USA

Stetson, E. & Congdon, V. 2001, Little Hands Finger plays and Action Rhymes; Seasonal Rhymes and Creative Play for 2 to 6 Year Olds, Williamson Publishing, Vermont.

Szarkowicz, D, 2006, Observations and Reflections in Childhood, Thomson Social Science Press, Melbourne, Victoria

Temmerman, N, 1990, A-Z of Music: Resource Book for Teachers, Macmillan Australia, South Melbourne.

Thomas, P. 2001, The Magic of Relaxation: Tai Chi and Visualisation Exercises for Young Children, Pademelon Press, Castle Hill.

Umansky, K. 2000, Three Tapping Teddies: Musical Stories and Chants for the Very Young, A&C Black, London.

Vance B (1973) Teaching the Pre-kindergarten Child: Instructional design and curriculum, Wadsworth Publishing Company, Belmont, California.

Warrener J J (1985) ‘Applying Learning Theory to Musical Development: Piaget and Beyond’. Music Educators Journal, 1985, 22-27

Wheeler L, Raebeck L (1972). Orff and Kodaly Adapted for the Elementary School. Wm. C. Brown Company Publishers, Dubuque, Iowa

Wood D (1982) Move, Sing, Listen, Play: Preparing the young child for music, Gordon V Thompson Limited, Toronto, Canada.

Wright, S (ed), 1991 The Arts in Early Childhood, Prentice Hall, Australia

Wright, S. (ed), 2003, Children, Meaning-making and the Arts, Pearson Education, Frenchs Forest, NSW.

Wynn, F M, 2008, The Joy of Expression, TAFE NSW Training and Education Support, Industry Skills Unit, Meadowbank, NSW

This resource list is only a small selection of the resources available. The Book Garden, local libraries, TAFE libraries, Department Stores and Equipment Suppliers have a wealth of resources available.

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ABC Enterprises, 1992, Play school meets the orchestra, ABC, Australia. – and various other play school video & sound recordings.

Clarke, P, & Abbott Smith, S. 1990, Music Makers, [Video recording & booklet], Free Kindergarten Association Multicultural Resource Centre, Melbourne.

Clarke and Abbot Smith, 1990, Music Makers

Macquarie University. Institute of Early Childhood Studies, 1995, Mia-Mia a new vision for day care: Infants program (under twos), Summer Hill films for the Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University.

Macquarie University. Institute of Early Childhood Studies, 1995, Mia-Mia a new vision for day care: Program for 2-5 years olds, Summer Hill films for the Institute of Early Childhood, Macquarie University.

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Sound recordings

Baby Einstein: Playtime Music Box, (and other recordings from this series)

Baby Dance: A Toddlers Jump on the Classics, Elektra International Classics, New York

Classic Kids: A Fun way for Children Explore the Classics, ABC (1992)

50 Favourite Nursery Rhymes, Patsy Biscoe, Rajon Music group

Lullaby: 24 tracks to soothe you to slumber, Warner Classics, UK

Mike and Michelle Jackson’s sound recordings (Spaghetti Bolognaise, Toffee Apple, Playmates, etc.)

Ken Davies sound recordings (environmental and nature recordings)

Peter Coombe sound recordings

Playschool sound recordings

Putumago Kids: Reggae Playground, (and other CDs in the series), Putumayo World Music

Swing and Jive, Master Sound, MRA Entertainment.

Wiggerly Woo, ABC

Again the list here is endless. Quality CDSs can be found in Music stores, Book shops and Discount stores. If possible always check the sound recording first before buying. Be mindful of quality, clarity, versatility and relevance. Don’t be limited to the traditional ‘Children’s Music’ genre; there is a whole wealth of possibilities out there, just waiting to be explored.

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Presenters and performers

Gary and Carol Crees:

These presenters have developed and produced an array of fabulous books and accompanying CDs. These are valuable resources to have in any Children’s Services service, and worthwhile additions to your own musical repertoire. Their resources include lots of dances, songs and movement ideas from a wide diversity of cultures; including Australian indigenous culture.

Forte School of Music:

Aunty Wendy’s Mob: Wendy Notley:

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Where to get resources

You can use a gong instead of a cymbal. Community Aid Abroad usually has an interesting selection of multicultural instruments. You'll probably find one in their catalogue

The ‘Move to Mozart’ C.D has to be ordered from Move Records, PO Box 266, Carlton South, Victoria 3053.Phone: (03) 9497-3105

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Organisations and web sites

Some of the following links you may have to copy and paste or type in the URL yourself as they are deep links.

ABC Play School:

Child Development Institute, USA;

Creative Teaching Site:

Danielle’s Place (for puppet ideas):

Department of Community Services (NSW):

Early Childhood Australia Inc:

Early Childhood Research and Practice:

Early Years Learning Framework

Education through music:

Everything preschool:

Family Crafts (for puppet ideas):

Gayle’s Rainbow Preschool (for finger plays, rhymes and songs):

KiDiddles (for children’s music, song pages, lyrics and print out sheets):

Musical Instruments of the World (for photographs and purchase):

National Childcare Accreditation Council:

National Network for Child Care (USA:

Nursery rhymes (for lyrics and interesting information on origins):

Play Works:

Zero to three: National Centre for Infants, Toddlers & Families (USA):


There are many more instruments and cultural instruments. Try this puzzle to find the hidden instruments:

Historical and cultural musical instruments

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