Musical Childhoods

A Survey of Contemporary Research

Authored by: Susan Young

Handbook of Research on the Education of Young Children

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  January  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415884341
eBook ISBN: 9780203841198
Adobe ISBN: 9781136897023


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In a baby-music group in Reykjavik, Iceland, a mother sings a traditional Icelandic lullaby she has just learned, soothing her slightly fractious young baby with gentle rocking. In a village compound in Bengland, Sub-Saharan Africa, a mixed-age group of young children playing together on the village compound tap gourd bowls and other found objects to make rhythmical percussion music to entertain two toddlers they are minding. In a well-equipped, college-based music room in New York, a group of 4-year-olds attending a private music class are highly engaged in finding their own spontaneous dance moves to a jazz song recording. In a small Welsh village, a 5-year-old girl spends after-school time in her bedroom with a karaoke video game singing High School Musical songs. Musical childhoods from birth to the first school years and their musical contexts are so various that the task of providing a balanced survey of research and scholarship across this field is daunting. The main development of the last decade has been considerable expansion into the many corners of early childhood musicality, from research into specific, tiny electrical impulses in the music-active brain of infants to consideration of broad cultural and political issues in diverse international contexts and how they impact on children’s musical experiences. And between such extremes of scale and scope are complex interplays of social, material, technological, environmental, and cultural influences that constitute young children’s musical experiences.

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