Song Play

Song Play

Song Play is Melbourne Recital Centre’s early learning music program for families with young children 0-5yrs. Using a different musical theme each week, the sessions encourage children to develop the foundations of musical, movement, and creative skills.

Designed and run by early learning specialist Clare Zabrowarny, Song Play mixes fun interactions with real instruments, musical games, dancing, and most importantly, singing. Created by Clare, especially for Melbourne Recital Centre, Song Play has been a staple of the Centre’s Kids & Families offering since 2017

How It Works

Each Song Play session works towards the outcomes of the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework and encourages children to develop musical skills through Kodály and Orff teaching methodologies.

Song Play sessions include:

  • Singing songs
  • Musical games
  • Movement and dance
  • Listening and responding to live and recorded music
  • Rhythmic activities and hands-on basic percussion
  • Literacy through sung and spoken stories
  • Imaginative group games, role play, and stories encouraging creativity

Song Play sessions run weekly during public school terms, with two classes: for 0-2.5 year olds, and 2.5-5 year olds.

About Clare Zabrowarny

Clare is a qualified music educator and violinist who has worked in the public and private school systems for the past 20 years. Combining her experience in classroom environments and her passion for community development, Clare has developed a unique curriculum that engages young children and their families in shared musical experiences.

Song Play sessions are designed to encourage subconscious learning whilst bonding families through creativity and play. Clare holds qualifications in Kodály and Orff musical pedagogies as well as a Bachelor of Music from the University of Melbourne and a Graduate Diploma of Education. Clare also teaches Violin at Eltham High School and has started a string program at Eltham East Primary School.

Benefits & Key Educational, Developmental, and Musical Outcomes

For many participants, the best part about Song Play is that it is an enjoyable and rewarding family activity! Developing a strong bond between carer and child is a focus of the program, and many families comment that music becomes a fun and regular part of their daily lives after attending Song Play.

Early musical training for children also offers numerous benefits that contribute to their overall development. Engaging in musical activities at a young age can enhance cognitive skills and research has shown that children who receive musical training demonstrate improved memory, attention, and problem-solving abilities. Learning to sing helps children develop their auditory processing skills, which can positively impact their language and reading skills as they grow up.

Participating in group musical activities fosters social and emotional development in children whilst also encouraging teamwork, cooperation, and communication. Children learn to listen to others, take turns, and work together towards a common goal. Making music allows children to express their feelings and emotions in a creative and constructive manner while providing an outlet for self-expression and emotional regulation.

Musical beat tracking, finger play, and hand actions work towards developing hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. These activities help children with dexterity and coordination, which can have a positive impact on their overall physical development. Engaging in activities such as dancing or playing percussion instruments can improve gross motor skills and body awareness.

Specific Skills & Outcomes

The Song Play course includes:

Singing Skills

  • Learning to sing songs with only two or three tones within the appropriate pitch range to develop in-tune singing
  • Vocal exploration – imitating sounds and creating sounds for physical shapes

Aural Perception

  • Recognising high and low sounds with matching spatial/body awareness of a physical distance between high and low
  • Soft and loud relationships in songs and speech
  • Melody identification of known songs
  • Inner hearing – hiding sounds or songs rather than singing aloud

Rhythmic Skills

  • Learning to maintain a steady beat in a variety of ways
  • Clapping or tapping rhythms
  • Fast and slow concepts
  • Use of body percussion and instruments
  • Moving to the beat, following body actions and finger play

Percussion Instruments

  • Using a drum
  • A variety of small auxiliary percussion instruments
  • Guiros
  • Finger cymbals

Introduction to Musical Form

  • Moving and responding to the musical forms of known songs

Listening to Music

  • Listening to in-tune singing, instrument playing, and recordings

2024 Schedule and Fees

0-2.5 years: 9.15am – 10am
2.5-5 years: 10.15am – 11am’

Cost per term (8 weeks): $160 (includes Song Play musical pack for participation)

Term Dates 2024

Term One
31 January 2024
7 February 2024
14 February 2024
21 February 2024
28 February 2024
6 March 2024
20 March 2024
27 March 2024

Ballot for Entry
Opens 11 December 2023
Closes 17 December 2023

Term Two
24 April 2024
1 May 2024
8 May 2024
22 May 2024
29 May 2024
5 June 2024
12 June 2024
19 June 2024

Ballot for Entry
Opens 11 March 2024
Closes 17 March 2024

Term Three
17 July 2024
24 July 2024
31 July 2024
7 August 2024
14 August 2024
21 August 2024
28 August 2024
4 September 2024

Ballot for Entry
Opens 27 May 2024
Closes 2 June 2024

Term Four
9 October 2024
23 October 2024
30 October 2024
6 November 2024
13 November 2024
20 November 2024
27 November 2024
4 December 2024

Ballot for Entry
Opens 26 August 2024
Closes 1 September 2024


Song Play enrolment is determined by a randomised ballot, run prior to each term. This is due to consistently high demand for limited places.

To register your details and hear about Song Play ballots, please fill out the linked form:

Register Now

Please note that completing this form does not include your child on the term ballot. These ballots are sent out on a term-by-term basis to families on the Song Play mailing list no less than 6 weeks prior to the upcoming term.

Further information

Please email should you have any questions.