April 12

Ep. 19 – Play-based early childhood music pedagogy in your context w/ Tina Arenas


I first met Tina Arenas when I attended one of her workshops at a music education conference. During the workshop, Tina gracefully led 50 music educators through a wonderful repertoire of joyful activities. We made shapes, explored our vocal range, danced, moved, played instruments and more. 

I spent some time chatting with Tina and her husband Juan (also a music teacher) after the session and knew I wanted to follow up with a conversation for the podcast at some point.

Tina currently works as an early childhood and elementary music teacher at the American School of Dubai. She is also the director of 'Pop Up For Play', an organisation that 'helps kids create music through play'. Tina draws on a combination of Orff, Kodaly and Dalcroze methods, plus her own unique context, to engage young people in exciting music-making activities.

In this conversation, Tina and I explore:

  • her background as a musician and music educator, including a surprising shift from teaching band to teaching early childhood music.
  • some of the joys and challenges of teaching with one's partner in the same school and department.
  • how teachers can use 'play' as a fundamental focus in their early childhood music teaching.
  • how teachers can also incorporate play in primary and secondary school classes.
  • the way that teaching music in an international school has changed her philosophy and approach.

Tina loves to support international school music teachers in developing their approach to early childhood music pedagogy and would be happy to chat with anyone who is interested in learning more!


Get in touch with Tina:

Email: tina@popupforplay.com
Website: https://www.popupforplay.com

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tina-arenas-music-educator/

Links to other content referenced in this episode:

University of North Texas Music Program: https://music.unt.edu
Polyglot Theatre: https://polyglot.org.au
'The Squiggle' book: https://www.amazon.com/Squiggle-Carole-Lexa-Schaefer/dp/0517885794
UN Rights Of The Child Article 31: https://childrensrightsqld.org.au/childrens-rights-to-play-and-have-fun/
Tina's amazing music educator aprons: https://www.popupforplay.com/shop

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early childhood, play