Tuning in to children

A training resource for early years practitioners & musicians

‘All humans from the very moment of birth wish to communicate and share experience. The human ability that makes this communication possible from the beginning of life is the same ability that creates symphonies, dance and poetry. It is human musicality.’ (Colwyn Trevarthen and Stephen Malloch)

'Tuning in to children' is intended to support musicians and early years practitioners working together in early years settings with children from birth to five years old. It aims to enable early years practitioners, musicians and project managers to work together to deepen their understanding of young children and their music-making whatever the context of the project. At its heart is the belief that any project planned should be seen as a learning process rooted in a network of reciprocal relationships between the musician, the practitioner, the early years setting, the parents and the child. When these relationships are mutually respectful and trusting they allow all parties to better understand each other’s worlds and help them to work in partnership for the best interests of the child.

This resource centres on children’s musical creativity and on child-initiated, adult-responsive music activity. It recognises that expertise is held by early years practitioners and musicians and advocates working together and in constant dialogue to create a shared philosophy that celebrates children’s competency, skills and existing sense of music. It sees the use of observation, documenting and reflection as essential for planning and developing practice.

This online resource is based on Nancy Evans' handbook 'Tuning into Children', commissioned by Youth Music and launched in 2007. It has been revised and updated and prepared as an online resource, complete with videos and visualisations, by Nancy Evans, Ben Sandbrook and Jodie Bray.

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