Music with the Under-Fours

Music with the Under-Fours

Music with the Under-Fours

Music with the Under-Fours

Synopsis

Why is music so valuable in the care and education of the youngest children? How can parents and early childhood professionals create environments rich in musical opportunities? The importance and value of music in the care and education of very young children is increasingly recognised. This book looks closely at early musical development and how this translates into ways of supporting the musical activity of babies, toddlers and young children, keeping in mind the diversity of preschool work. The following topics are included: * pre- and post-natal musical experience * musical parenting * lullabies and play songs * baby music sessions * toddlers' music play * songs, musical games and other activities * young children's singing * music play with instruments * listening * working with adults to develop musical opportunities. This text provides a valuable synthesis of recent thinking in this area, as well as practical suggestions for fostering creativity through musical activities. An original and inspiring book which will be welcomed by anyone responsible for the care and education of preschool children.

Excerpt

This book is the outcome of two research projects in early years music. The first focused on three- and four-year-olds in nursery settings playing with educational percussion instruments. In this first project my aim was to understand some of the processes which drive children's spontaneous musical activity and to look for ways adults might play creatively with children. This work mostly focused on instruments, as I had noticed that, while these are provided in early years settings, practitioners often feel unsure about how best they might be used. The second has been a broader project which was concerned with both research and development. It aimed to develop approaches to practice in music with under-four-year-olds in a range of early childhood settings.

It is the second project which mostly informs the book. The project was guided by questions such as: what spontaneous musical abilities do children reveal in early childhood contexts, how do they engage with musical activities which are presented to them by adults and how might adults best foster children's musicality? In order to investigate those questions I visited three early childhood settings over the course of a year for about two hours each per week. The settings were chosen to be varied yet representative. One was a nursery run as part of a family centre by social services, another was a privately funded daycare providing all-day care for babies to school-age children and the third was an Early Excellence Centre encompassing nursery education, units for children with special needs and a toy library. Kim Bloomfield, co-worker on the project, worked in music within a voluntary playgroup, in a toy library for children with special needs and at a hostel for homeless mothers.

To begin to answer the questions I started by observing, listening and writing unstructured field notes. The aim of the observations

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