After working with young children (5 months to five years) for more than ten years facilitating music-making experiences, it became evident to me* that they have a qualitatively unique relationship with music; that is, experiences of music that are every bit as whole and complete as adult experiences yet significantly differentiated. This suggests that the traditional paradigm in music education, being predicated on the notion that the primary function of music in society is artistic and/or cultural expression, may not be relevant to the musical needs of young children. Because young children have such strong imperatives for music-making behaviors, I believe it is important to 1) investigate what the implications are of this imperative in relation to the general growth and development of children, from birth to age seven, and 2) pursue the development of appropriate pedagogical strategies and age-appropriate classroom methodologies for children in the same age range.
* I believe it’s interesting to note that what I have observed has not yet been investigated in any major studies nor is it addressed in the literature of general child development or in literature specific to music education.
Research and conference presentations for the purpose of investigating interdisciplinary methods in early childhood education: looking at music and language structures as archetypal forms that facilitate early development of meaning and communication.
Traditionally, music is considered a specialized "single" subject. However, the research I've done to help me formulate a developmental theory for music-making behavior in young children has taken me outside the literature on music, to include (but is not limited to) Piaget's Theory on the Development of Intelligence, Vygotsky's socio-cultural theory of development known as the Zone of Proximal Development, a theory posited by British psychologist Nicholas K. Humphrey that I refer to as Humphrey's Theory of Natural Aesthetics, and various articles written to support the nascent field of evolutionary bio-musicology.
Over the past several years, I have made presentations at various conferences for the following organizations:
- California Association for the Education of Young Children
- National Association for the Education of Young Children
- South Central Training and Research Consortium
- California Council on Teacher Education
I have self-published an interdisciplinary music/language development program for early childhood education entitled: "Dog, Cat, Mouse, Rat! Making Music!" (MusicMeansMe, 2007).
I recommend the following authors
- Jerome Bruner
- Margaret Donaldson
- Elizabeth Spelke
- Nicholas K. Humphrey