Music in the Early Years

Music in the Early Years

Music in the Early Years

Music in the Early Years


This innovative book is intended for teachers working with 3-8 year olds who want to make music integral to the life of the nursery and early years classroom. It is the first in a pair of books that aim to move forward the teaching of music with a best practice in music philosophy. Focusing on the very specific needs and approaches appropriate for teachers of very young children, the book provides practical ideas for introducing children to music in the classroom and developing their abilities and appreciation for music. The authors reflect on key points that will appeal to specialist and nonspecialist music teachers alike. In doing so, they help teachers stand back and see what is involved in practical music activities and encourage them to do their own investigation of music with children.


This book is intended for teachers working across the three to eight age phase who want to make music integral to the life of the nursery and early years classroom.

Music has often been taught as if it were different, something outside the mainstream curriculum, with teaching approaches quite at odds with early years work. This book takes children’s development in music as its basis and works towards building a music pedagogy within early years practice.

Children have a musical vitality, their own way of being musical in the world. The teacher, with an awareness of what is possible, must find a way of meeting children on their own musical terms, yet extending their learning along pathways which are mapped within the wider musical culture.

This book looks at children’s music learning. It draws on well-tried practice of many teachers and our own observations and work with children over the long term. A readiness to observe and reflect is central to the listening-led practice which threads through the book. Sample activities model ways of working with children. These have been written in such a way that they can be substituted with other material and adapted by teachers to use with their own resources. Three to eight is a wide age span. Earlier and later stages of learning and progression are described as a basis for matching activities with children’s learning needs.

For the child working in music, the divisions between performing, composing and listening are not distinct. In this book sections on movement, singing and instrumental work are based on the child’s central ways of engaging with music. Throughout, we have tried to take the teacher’s perspective on understanding how to work with the child in music.

Books are full of words. They can convey ideas, pictures, meanings. Writing this book has been difficult without the one thing we are really talking about—the sound—being there.

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