Music making is a part of being human and musical development begins prebirth as hearing starts to function during the last trimester of pregnancy. Amazingly the growing foetus can hear external sounds, including music, and is particularly sensitive to the mother’s singing and speech.
Infancy and early childhood are critical periods for the development of musical abilities. During this time, young children are capable of a wide range of musical behaviours which continue to evolve over time.
Children’s musical behaviour develops in response to experience, particularly through interaction with caregivers and opportunities to experience different musics from the wider community.
Musical activity and musical experiences are also a great way of supporting many other aspects of children’s learning and development.
Linda Bance and Sound Connections have published a briefing paper for caregivers and teachers about how musical activities can support the goals of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework. Teachers and caregivers can find practical ideas for music making to simultaneously support other areas of development, such as speech, language and communication skills. You can access the paper here.
Nicola Burke and Early Education, have recently published a guide to help caregivers observe how their child is learning musically during the early years. It also provides thoughtful advice on a nurturing a supportive musical environment for the child. Musical Development Matters can be downloaded here.