The Collection

Welcome to SongWorks for Children! We are eager to introduce you to the activities, the ideas, and the children featured here.

What will you see in this collection? You will see three-, four-, and five-year-old children “being themselves” as they make music in Oberlin’s MusicPlay classes. You will see children immersed in singing games, nursery rhymes, masterworks, pop songs, and score reading. You will see teachers and parents being playful, interacting with children and music in ways that capture imaginations, focus attentions, stimulate senses, and elicit responsiveness.

As you watch the videos, you will experience a rare luxury in education: you will be able to observe learning in the finite capsules of brief videos. Teachers and parents do not often get to experience the simple pleasure of observing children in group, instructional settings. The approximately 700 SongWorks for Children videos offer you this extraordinary, and perhaps unique experience, and it is our great privilege to offer you these opportunities.

All videos were taken and are now displayed with full permission and support from MusicPlay parents. Please join us in being respectful and protective of the precious children whose images, identities, and behaviors you see in these videos. We ask that you be as empathic toward these children as you would toward your own.

The videos in this collection share several characteristics: Read More


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From nearly the moment this project was conceived, Alan Boyd, Assistant Director of Libraries at Oberlin College, and Kathy Abromeit, Public Services Librarian of Oberlin Conservatory of Music, have worked alongside me with their savvy, resourceful, and enthusiastic expertise. Xi Chen, East Asian and Web Development Librarian, and Selina Wang, Head of Cataloging and Metadata Services, each contributed their technological knowledge and skills to creating this expansive, user-friendly, and visually appealing website.

In 2011, the Mellon Foundation awarded a grant for supporting digital archives for the New Generation Library at Oberlin College, sparking the incentive and momentum for this project. In recognition of the unique benefits of making the SongWorks for Children videos available to the public, Oberlin College awarded me a Research Status grant (a generous one-year leave) for 2012-13. Completion of the project would not have been possible without this award, and I am exceedingly grateful for having received it.

Throughout my time as Professor of Music Education at Oberlin, the MusicPlay program has received unflagging support from Dean David Stull, my colleagues in Music Education (Professors Jody Kerchner, Joanne Erwin, and John Knight), the Community Music School, and the hundreds of families who have attended MusicPlay classes. With profound gratitude to all those mentioned, this site is dedicated to the amazing, spirited, charming, delightful, and precious children who continue to teach us all through the videos that you will see here of “children making music.” ~ Peggy D. Bennett