Early Years music-making

A perfect storm is rapidly approaching in music education in England. Read on to see how you can help and gain support.

'Ready for music' - music therapy for vulnerable children was a Youth Music funded project which ran at Broadwaters Children Centre, The Ladder Children Centre (before closure) and South Haringey nursery. The project ran from January 2016 - January 2017 and was led by music therapist, Claire Hope (www.hopemusictherapy.co.uk). The majority of similar early years music therapy work occurring in the UK is funded by both the children's centres and The Primary Care Trust. In Haringey, however, there is limited NHS funding towards therapeutic intervention in early years and a high level of deprivation.
Weekly group and individual music therapy sessions were offered to vulnerable families, children with complex emotional, social and developmental needs and parents and infants on the 2 -year programme (a government childcare initiative offered to parents on low-income). It was agreed that the project would be flexible, allowing Claire to respond to the needs of the service users. Workshops, presentations and meetings with parents were also an important aspect of the project. 
Group sessions involved familiar songs/nursery rhymes, turn-taking, leading, conducting, musical arrangements (playing an instrument in a particular place in the music), improvising/free play, movement with music, imaginary play, stories with sounds, songs and puppets. These were closely monitored by recordings, written summaries, supervision and questionnaires. Staff commented ,and the music therapist observed, children's increase in confidence, listening, awareness of the musical interaction and an increase in using more words in songs and play, particularly for children with English as a second language.
One little boy, who was selective mute, tentatively began to use his voice to express himself in individual music therapy sessions. Through creative musical play (and the use of kazoos!), his confidence in using his voice to communicate developed and he began to talk in nursery. Due to the flexibility of the project, he was then able to join a music therapy group with his peers, further consolidating on his confidence and achievements.
Music therapy is vital in these contexts, where young children are seeking and needing early play experiences. There continues to be growing need and demand for music therapy and Broadwaters Children Centre is thrilled to receive successful funding for a further 2-year music project beginning imminently, entitled: HOPE music therapy. Music therapy for vulnerable children.'

In order to create a brand new resource for the NYMAZ Early Years Music Network, NYMAZ is commissioning up to 12 original songs for a new Early Years Songbook, to be released in 2017, and is now inviting proposals from composers/songwriters who would be interested in writing a song for the collection. Proposals should be submitted by 5 December 2016, and commissions will be agreed before Christmas.

We’re delighted to release the final report of findings from Pedestrian’s Little Music Stars, a project aiming to test digital music making technology in Early Years music practice. Pedestrian’s Little Music Stars was delivered between September 2014 and June 2016 and sought to work with 0-5 year olds and their parents through digital music making technology.

How can we sustain and improve the access to and quality of music education over the next 3 years? If this question interests you do read on!

Read this blog from Paul Weston and comments from Nell Farrally and myself regarding Early Years musical assessment tools: http://network.youthmusic.org.uk/learning/blogs/paul-weston/baahs-and-be...

OrffUK run 'Nurturing Creativity Through Music' - an active, creative training for people involved with music and children. This Saturday is a very special Early Years course with an incredible practitioner, Soili Perkiö, from Finland who is known around the world.

OrffUK run 'Nurturing Creativity Through Music' - an active, creative training for people involved with music and children. This Saturday is a very special Early Years course with an incredible practitioner, Soili Perkiö, from Finland who is known around the world.

The Music Education Council conference kick-started a discussion on how to move early years music-making forward as a sector. One issue that arose was how to make use of multi-agency working to assess need and secure the interest of parents/carers and children. Our agreed action was to share examples of where this has worked well, so I am opening the dialogue. Here’s a description of a partnership with a housing association and a primary school. Please share your experiences!

This early years music evidence review is a whistle-stop hurtle through some of the literature and research in this area of music education.

  • by Becca

    Tue 21 Apr 2015

Thanks to Youth Music for funding the WILD Young Parents' Project for another 3 years. We are looking forward to expanding our work from the last year and developing our project.

For about half my working week I’m an Early Years Musician.  The other half I spend as a freelance evaluator, working for music organisations, MEHs and community projects such as The Trowbridge Song Project.