Colors and Patterns Write Music

"Music is children's first patterning experience and helps engage them in mathematics even when they don't recognize the activities as mathematics."

Geist, K., et al. The Patterns of Music. Young Children. NAEYC, Jan. 2012

Concepts of math can been seen in various ways throughout our classroom for 4-year-olds. Each day, the children are working with numbers, patterns, and relationships. Having just learned about primary colors and the colors of the rainbow, the children explored mathematics by using color patterns to write music.

Patterns and rhythm were captured using the seven colors of the rainbow. With liquid watercolors, matching colored paper circles and small glass jars as materials, the children set out to write their own music, playing it back on the jars filled with colored water. Each child created a unique song. Some used colors to create a pattern, others varied the tempo while palying the music on the jars.

And the most amazing thing? Someone else, like a teacher or classmate, could "read" their music and play it back as well! Thus they had not only created music, they'd also "written" it. What a simple way to introduce the idea of transmitting information using symbols, the very basic concept of literacy.


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