What is a music center?
A music center is an area of the classroom designed to encourage
children to experiment with sound and music making. Although it
is a permanent part of the classroom, the contents of the area are
regularly changed to reflect the teacher’s long-range goals, the
interest of the children, and coordination with the overall
Why is it important to include music centers in an early
Music centers provide children with extensive time to explore the
properties of sound and construct musical concepts. They also
afford children the opportunity to create their own music. Children
need blocks of time and repeated access to instruments in order
to discover the properties of sound and explore their potential for
creating music. This is not possible in a large group situation.
The music area allows children to experiment with instruments
frequently and over extended periods of time. Children may inter-
act with the instruments individually or with other children.
What is included in a music center?
The music center includes a low bench or small table to hold sev-
eral instruments. A divider or shelf sections off the area from the rest
of the room and provides a space to hang related pictures and rele-
vant print. A small wooden storage cabinet with a tape recorder,
record player, or CD player is desirable. Since some instruments,
such as chimes or triangles, need to be suspended, a small wooden
frame to hold them is an ideal addition to the music center. The
frame is easy to make. Screw four pieces of wood together (31⁄2
inches wide by 20 inches long). Add two strips of wood to the bot-
tom of the frame to keep it from tipping over. Attach hooks to the
top of the frame for suspending the instruments. The frame is pic-
tured in many of the activities in this chapter.
Since a primary goal of the music center is to encourage chil-
dren to explore the sounds they can produce on musical instru-
ments, the expectation is that the area will be somewhat noisy. It
is therefore positioned away from quieter areas of the classroom,
such as the reading and writing centers. While the area should be
rather small and cozy, it should be large enough to accommodate
two to three children comfortably. This allows for communal
music-making and the exchange of ideas.