Early years music-making ingredients

  • by Anonymous (not verified)

    Wednesday, 16 September, 2015 - 16:02

Between 2009 and 2010 Youth Music pulled together 60 senior music education figures to ask what they considered to be the most important factors in creating music-making opportunities and harnessing music’s potential in young children’s lives. A total of 19 ‘ingredients’ were identified, considered and refined.

We've grouped the ingredients around themes- click on the dots for more information.

Waypointwaypoint/what-are-ingredientsWhat are ingredients?57.5236.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/connecting-setting-homeConnecting the setting with home563.5351.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/working-familiar-thingsWorking with familiar things 716.5483.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/connecting-social-welfare-agenciesConnecting with social/ welfare agencies 653.5397.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/committing-professional-developmentCommitting to professional development 736.5574.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/understanding-safety-and-protectionUnderstanding safety and protection 577.5855.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/being-open-new-ideasBeing open to new ideas 722.5741.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/co-working-between-musicians-and-practitionersCo-working between musicians and practitioners 663.5807.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/co-working-between-musicians-and-practitionersCo-working between musicians and practitioners 663.5807.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/communicating-partnersCommunicating with partners 751.5663.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/communicating-partnersCommunicating with partners 751.5663.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/using-local-networksUsing local networks 493.5878.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/using-local-networksUsing local networks 493.5878.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/having-instruments-and-toolsHaving instruments and tools 407.5880.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/having-instruments-and-toolsHaving instruments and tools 407.5880.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/creating-inspiring-and-nurturing-environmentsCreating inspiring and nurturing environments 312.5845.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/creating-inspiring-and-nurturing-environmentsCreating inspiring and nurturing environments 312.5845.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/using-appropriate-approaches-learningUsing appropriate approaches for learning 460.5343.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/using-appropriate-approaches-learningUsing appropriate approaches for learning 460.5343.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/understanding-children’s-musicality-and-individualityUnderstanding children’s musicality and individuality284.5402.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/understanding-children’s-musicality-and-individualityUnderstanding children’s musicality and individuality284.5402.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/building-previous-developmentBuilding on previous development 374.5359.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/building-previous-developmentBuilding on previous development 374.5359.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/integrating-creativity-culture-and-curriculumIntegrating creativity, culture and curriculum 247.5781.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/integrating-creativity-culture-and-curriculumIntegrating creativity, culture and curriculum 247.5781.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/combining-music-other-art-formsCombining music with other art forms 174.5558.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/combining-music-other-art-formsCombining music with other art forms 174.5558.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/providing-inspirational-musical-experiencesProviding inspirational musical experiences 203.5713.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/providing-inspirational-musical-experiencesProviding inspirational musical experiences 203.5713.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/embedding-technologyEmbedding technology 179.5638.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/embedding-technologyEmbedding technology 179.5638.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/documenting-reflecting-and-evaluatingDocumenting, reflecting and evaluating 197.5470.2""#0000002
Waypointwaypoint/documenting-reflecting-and-evaluatingDocumenting, reflecting and evaluating 197.5470.2""#0000002

Between 2009 and 2010 Youth Music pulled together 60 senior music education figures to ask what they considered to be the most important factors in creating music-making opportunities and harnessing music’s potential in young children’s lives. A total of 19 ‘ingredients’ were identified, considered and refined.

We've grouped the ingredients around themes- click on the dots for more information.

Click here for a text version of this visualisation


Click here for a text version of this visualisation

What are ingredients?

- the things that a broad group of experts and professionals have found to be important in creating music-making opportunities and harnessing music’s potential in young children’s lives.

Connecting the setting with home

Extending children’s opportunities out for family members to be actively engaged can build trust, strengthen relationships and help extend musical activity beyond the setting into the home.

Working with familiar things

It’s often important to understand and build on the types of music, the toys or equipment children are engaging with at home, in order to make first experiences accessible to them, to work out what parents can practically fit into their routines, and to lessen the musical gap between the setting and what families do musically in their everyday lives.

Connecting with social/ welfare agencies

Connections to children’s families are often made through connections with public health bodies, GP surgeries, antenatal and health visitor services, libraries, social services and others. This can be particularly important when working with vulnerable children, or when trying to access hard-to-reach families.

Committing to professional development

Making a commitment to on-going professional development is important for practitioners, managers and musicians to benefit from other people’s experiences and research, and to improve their own practice.

Understanding safety and protection

All practitioners, musicians and managers need to ensure they comply with legal requirements around child protection and safety, and follow effective and appropriate practice of working with young children.

Being open to new ideas

Practitioners and musicians will often be at their most effective if they are open to new ideas and also feel empowered to build new ideas into their work, challenging existing process where necessary.

Co-working between musicians and practitioners

Early years practitioners and musicians each have their own areas of strength and expertise and many people point to the importance of co-working for harnessing those strengths and embedding practice. An important part of this is planning before activities take place and reflecting afterwards.

Communicating with partners

Partnerships and collaborations, which might be with social/welfare agencies, music organisations or parents, will work most effectively if partners are regularly consulted and updated, and invited to reflect and contribute to the process.

Using local networks

Practitioners, musicians and managers will almost invariably benefit from participating in local and online networks: harnessing local resources, sharing practice, and developing joined-up approaches.

Having instruments and tools

Children will learn many things most effectively by doing them themselves, and particularly through play. So making high-quality instruments and tools accessible, and allowing children to use them, is an important part of a musical setting.

Creating inspiring and nurturing environments

For many people working in early years, having an environment in which musical play can take place, is as important as the musical activities themselves. This needs to be a rich, inspiring and safe environment that gives children access to a range of musical opportunities and tools, while developing their autonomy, responsibility and social skills.

Using appropriate approaches for learning

Different teaching and learning approaches will be effective for achieving different things for different children. Adult-led or child-led, co-constructed or didactic, enquiry-based, movement-based, listening-based, play-based, etc. – there are many different approaches. To be most effective, practitioners and musicians will need a toolkit of different techniques to use as appropriate.

Understanding children’s musicality and individuality

Research shows that very young children have sophisticated musical engagement from a very early age, including tastes and preferences, and often a wealth of their own musical ideas and musical expression. The most effective practice will understand these early skills and be able to recognise different abilities.

It is equally important to consider the individuality of very young children and issues of diversity. Young children are just as different as adults(!) - in terms of how they learn, how they experience the world, and their different backgrounds etc. Considering this, alongside issues of ethnicity, religion, race, class, physical ability and gender, will be crucial to effective music-making.

Building on previous development

Children will often benefit most from music-making opportunities that build on their previous experiences and on their own musical abilities. Practice that ignores, or tries to replace, previous work will often cause confusion and undermine the opportunity for cumulative development.

Integrating creativity, culture and curriculum

Musical activity, creativity and culture all have a value on their own but often the most is achieved when they are embedded within and across the whole curriculum. Often music making will happen when a musician comes into a setting but that doesn’t mean it should stop when they leave.

Combining music with other art forms

Particularly in the early years, music, dance, art, drama, creativity, play and other things often flow seamlessly from one thing to the next in a child’s mind. Many early years approaches focus on bringing these art forms together. Trying to separate them, as part of musical activities, may be unhelpful, even if the musician is confident mainly with music-making and the practitioner is confident in everything else.

Providing inspirational musical experiences

Many early years music leaders and practitioners describe the significant impact on children of having very high quality musicians performing, expressing and communicating with them. Engaging performances can complement more participatory activities well. And sometimes the inspirational music can come from the children themselves.

Embedding technology

All kinds of technology – electronic instruments, computers, recording machines, cameras, mobile phones – can be used effectively to deliver, support, follow up or communicate music-making practice. Children, practitioners and musicians need to be able and allowed to use technology, as appropriate. Often their abilities will be surprising!

Documenting, reflecting and evaluating

Reflecting on and evaluating the impacts and outcomes, as well as the successes and challenges, is a very important part of ensuring that music-making activities are effective. Documenting activities as they take place, e.g. with video cameras, can provide an excellent tool for reflecting, either immediately after an activity or in the longer term. An important part of this is self-evaluation – from personal reflections, and feedback from adults and children.

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