Some characteristics of four, five and six year olds that effect musical learning include:
1. Students have an excitement and enthusiasm for learning.
2. Physical coordination increases each year.
3. Attention span is limited and curiosity is high.
4. To a great extent, learning depends on imitation. Demonstration is very important in the lesson. “hands on” experiences are more important than verbal explanation.
5. Physical activity ( moving and responding to music) is an important part of learning.
6. The need for praise is powerful.
7. Memory is quick, but things are soon forgotten too. Consequently, repetition is important to the learning process.
8. Reality is seen in relationship to self and environment.
9. Taking turns is an accepted part of daily life.
10. Students have a great desire to please the teacher.
11. Hands are small, and keyboard activities should take this into consideration.
12. Young children have difficulty practicing independently.
13. They do not sit and listen to long verbal explanations.
14. They are enthusiastic singers and enjoy moving to music and playing singing games.
15. They are more attentive learners if the senses of touch, sight and sound are used in instruction.
16. They function well in group situations.
17. They enjoy expressing non musical ideas through music.
18. They enjoy live musical performances.
Four, five and six year olds can be very different from each other. Five, six year olds especially enjoy “play dates” with companions of similar ages. As students grow older, they can find it easier to follow the pulse of music and follow movement direction more exactly for traditional dances. Vocabulary and small muscle control increase with age. By the time children are six years old, they can play games with rules; often pair up and have best friends; have a need to win and be the centre of attention; and show a high level of activity.