The Rhythm of Life: The vital role of music in young children’s early learning and development

Year: 2015

Author: Barrett, Margarett, Welch, Graham, Mary Broughton, Vicky Abad Kate Williams

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that early learning and engagement in music plays a crucial role in many aspects of infants and young children’s development. This presentation will provide an overview of an on- going longitudinal research project funded by the Australian Research Council that seeks to identify the contributions music early learning and engagement makes to children’s musical and extra-musical development.

The paper will report preliminary findings from project strands that examine: data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children project in relation to shared music –making and extra musical outcomes; data from families who enrol their children in MELPs (Music Early Learning Programs); and, data concerning families day-to-day engagement in music in the home. These emergent findings point to the vital role music plays in young children’s early learning and development across the spectrum of literacy, numeracy, pro-social and musical skills and understanding. Further, findings suggest that enrolment in MELPs contributes to positive family and parenting practices and the development of bonding through shared rituals.