Planning a Successful Music Center in Child Care

May 23, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

musical instruments

The music center helps children explore sound, movement, patterns, and rhythm while having fun and being creative. Music can be used with both and large and small groups, and can be an effective part of games and free play. Having a music center gives children opportunities to listen to music, move to music, and create their own music.

Setting Up a Music Center in Your Classroom

  • Location: The music center should be in an open area on carpet. If possible, have some music materials available for children to explore during free play. If space is limited, make music available at scheduled times such as large group, or rotate the music area with another center.
  • Display: Use low shelves or a standing bookcase to store different musical equipment and supplies. If you are going to allow children to select their own music to listen to, make headphones available so other children are not disturbed. Music players and headphones can be set up on a low shelf or a child-sized table with chairs.

What a Music Center Should Look Like

  • Well stocked with a variety of materials: Offer a variety of materials for children to use. Children can easily become bored with the same materials, so you will want to change the materials regularly.
  • Neat and organized: Children should be able to find the materials they want to help them explore movement, sounds, and rhythms without having to search through a lot of clutter. Also, if the center is organized, the expectation is that the children will help keep it that way.
  • Limitless: An inviting and well-stocked music center encourages children to be musically creative and expressive. Within reason, children should be allowed to follow their musical explorations.
  • Storage: Store materials in bins or containers on low shelves that give children easy access.

Choosing Music Equipment for the Music Center

Equipment in this center should encourage creativity, movement, and rhythm. Some examples include:

  • books to encourage creative music and movement (picture books, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, multicultural books, etc.)
  • open area for movement
  • flannel board, flannel board stories, and flannel board cutouts
  • puppets or stuffed animals
  • CD or MP3 player, a variety of music, and headphones
  • instruments (drums, triangles, tambourines, bells, sand blocks, rhythm sticks, etc.)
  • scarves and streamers

More Information

For more information about music and other learning centers, take a look at the following eXtension Alliance for Better Child Care articles:

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.