But this is what usually happens in music schools. Children are first taught about the notes and basic music theory, and later they are required to perform. Of course, they need to perform according to the notes written. Eventually, a lot later, they may be allowed to express themselves musically.
This is not the proper way to develop a child’s full potential. We are very complex, and the most of the brain development occurs in the early childhood. We need to feed them with various sound input and encourage them to mimic those sounds and eventually express themselves in a musical way.
Children are very good at observing and listening. Sufficient input, a rich musical landscape, creates a solid foundation on which the child can build his further development.
This is the responsibility of educators - initially parents, and later teachers - they need to provide interesting musical activities to the children. This should start in early childhood (well, even prenatal activities are very welcome, too) and continue throughout the childhood.
The important thing is to provide rich content - the music should be as various as possible; it should use various tonalities, tempos, rhythms, scales, instruments, etc. All of these provide a wider spectrum of basic elements, needed to express yourself more precisely.
Above all - don’t underestimate the children. They are intelligent, they just lack the experience. Also, you need to understand their limitations. One of the more common ones is lack of focus. Children don’t want to do boring things. So you need to invest a lot of effort (and knowledge) if you want to keep them interested. The best strategy is to have a lot of different activities prepared and switch them as soon as the motivation is going down. Very often you have to improvise, too.
It is a good idea to have a lot of different instruments at hand - children will love to explore various sounds. The most useful and simple ones are various bells, rattles, drums, etc. It is not too difficult to find those at various markets, gift shops and similar.
A fun activity, which develops attention, focus, hearing and memory, is finding the right instrument. You can present different instruments (3 to 7, depending on the age of the child), and instruct him to close his eyes, while you play on one of them. After that you ask the child to choose the instrument you have played. First of all, diverse instruments enrich the child’s musical landscape. Second, he needs to listen closely to remember the sounds - this improves attention and memory. Eventually, he needs to compare different sounds, which improves his hearing capabilities. He may play the chosen instrument to make sure it is the right one. And, if he made a mistake, he can try once again.
Such activities can really improve the child’s musical capabilities in the long run.