New research project

This week I’m planning to design the survey for my latest research project with Ian Axtell about communication and music. Research has shown that a developing foetus can discriminate sounds in the womb from 22 weeks gestation and that early sound discrimination helps to promote later phonic and vocabulary development.  In addition, during early social interaction between caregivers and infants there are noticeable patterns of timing, pulse, voice timbre, and gesture that follow many of the rules of musical performance, including rhythm and timing conceptualised by Malloch and Trevarthen (2009) as ‘communicative musicality’.  Given the centrality of communication in children’s learning and development (Blackburn, 2014) and the established links between human communication and music, this project seeks to explore the views, understanding and reported practices of interested stakeholders in young children’s musical interactions in home and out-of-home early years settings.  We’re  going to start with a survey of parents and early years practitioners.


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Blackburn (2014) Policy-to-practice context to the acquisition of speech, language and communication in the first five years. Unpublished PhD thesis. Birmingham City University

Malloch, S. and Trevarthen, C. (2009) Communicative Musicality: Exploring the Basis of Human Companionship. Oxford: Oxford University Press


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