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Instrument Highlight: Scarves (what?)

Apr 30, 2020

Ok ok, a scarf is not an instrument! But, it is something that we use all the time in our early childhood music classes, so we thought it would be nice to include alongside our other Instrument Highlights.

What is it about these lightweight, colorful scarves that go so well with music and small children? Here are some of the things we like about them:

  • They are usually brightly colored, which offers opportunities to sing and learn about colors.
  • Perfect for playing peekaboo with babies
  • They are easy to manipulate, but feel very playful as well as they float and land, offering a sensory experience, and a chance to develop spatial awareness for little ones.
  • Holding a scarf while moving your body to music offers an additional visual element to tie in multiple senses to your listening experience.
  • The scarf can help children to visualize and feel musical concepts
    • Pitch: Hold your scarf high in the air for high sounds, and bring it low to the ground for low sounds.
    • Tempo: Shake it fast, shake it slow
    • Dynamics: Make big movements for “loud” and smaller movements closer to your body for “soft”
  • Scarves offer a perfect opportunity for toddlers to practice their “pincer” grasp (with thumb and index finger), which builds fine motor skills and prepares them for eventually holding a writing utensil.
  • As children move their scarves around in the air, they are building coordination and arm muscles!
  • Lots of learning and fun happening as little ones practice making shapes and even letters or numbers in the air using scarves. You can also try making the same shapes and letters on the ground, using your scarf.

All of these benefits are demonstrated in this scarf-themed Mini Class Video. You’ll enjoy our original song “The Slide” which teaches high and low, a listening experience with a classical piece about birds (scarves make perfect wings/feathers to flap while listening to the flute!), and a fun song that uses a scarf to sing about sun, rain, and flowers!

You can see that we love these light, transparent scarves for many reasons. But you can enjoy many of the same benefits with other types of scarves, towels, fabric, pillowcases, etc. Get creative, get moving, and get music-making!


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