Event Title

"It Was Just a Part of Our Life": The Use of Community Music as an Effective Mode of School Transitions, Parent-child Interaction and Musical Development

Start Date

31-5-2011 4:30 PM

End Date

31-5-2011 5:00 PM

Description

This paper deals with a preschool music program based in the north-side of Limerick city, Ireland. Funding for this project was provided by the local primary school and the overall project was co-ordinated by a local charity, ‘The Northside Learning Hub’ (NLH), on the basis that the program should be operated within the school, in order to open its doors to the community. From concept stages, the NLH communicated with each interested party (pre-school teachers, primary school teachers, parents), including the community musicians involved, in an attempt to identify areas of common interest and concern. One such area of concern was that it has become increasingly difficult in this area of Limerick city to ignore the decreasing number of children moving from the local preschool to enroll in the ‘big’ school, or primary school ‘next door’. In 2009, despite the convenient proximity of the primary school to the preschool, only 2 children progressed, with other parents deciding to travel further afield for the continuation of their child’s education. For this music program, both the primary and preschool welcomed the opportunity to invite parents and children inside the school walls to address the issues of concern. This project resonated strongly with those ideas put forward by Konings in 2008, who believes that the first few weeks of a child arriving at a new school are highly influential as to how they will perform both academically and socially. We will welcome the children and their parents for a live musical performance and program, new faces will become familiar throughout the teaching and student populations. It is hoped that those who do progress between schools having engaged with this program, will find coping with larger numbers, new friends, teachers and subjects less intimidating. Creating meaningful opportunities for parents to interact with their children at such a young age is very important to the participating preschool. Despite the ongoing efforts of the preschool staff to engage parents in activities, it is not always possible to co-ordinate long term, interactive schedules. Edwards et al (2007, p.160) suggest that ‘music has been demonstrated to be an effective way to involve the parent and child in a program that addresses the needs of both within a group setting’. Research to date has highlighted that music can be used by parents to communicate with and relate to their children. (Abad&Edwards, 2004). It is hoped that with an increase in parental confidence in using music as an effective daily communication tool with their children that music will naturally become part of their lives. It has been highlighted by all groups that musical opportunities are not plentiful in the area. With the NLH opening a new school of music in early 2011, this ‘Junior Music Hub’ will act as a feeder and progression route, thus sustaining the project. This music program will create a platform and vehicle to enable smoother transitions, communications, interactio and musical development. In creating a space for music with both parent and child, perhaps music will also ‘just be a part of their life’. (Dillion,07,p.54)

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May 31st, 4:30 PM May 31st, 5:00 PM

"It Was Just a Part of Our Life": The Use of Community Music as an Effective Mode of School Transitions, Parent-child Interaction and Musical Development

This paper deals with a preschool music program based in the north-side of Limerick city, Ireland. Funding for this project was provided by the local primary school and the overall project was co-ordinated by a local charity, ‘The Northside Learning Hub’ (NLH), on the basis that the program should be operated within the school, in order to open its doors to the community. From concept stages, the NLH communicated with each interested party (pre-school teachers, primary school teachers, parents), including the community musicians involved, in an attempt to identify areas of common interest and concern. One such area of concern was that it has become increasingly difficult in this area of Limerick city to ignore the decreasing number of children moving from the local preschool to enroll in the ‘big’ school, or primary school ‘next door’. In 2009, despite the convenient proximity of the primary school to the preschool, only 2 children progressed, with other parents deciding to travel further afield for the continuation of their child’s education. For this music program, both the primary and preschool welcomed the opportunity to invite parents and children inside the school walls to address the issues of concern. This project resonated strongly with those ideas put forward by Konings in 2008, who believes that the first few weeks of a child arriving at a new school are highly influential as to how they will perform both academically and socially. We will welcome the children and their parents for a live musical performance and program, new faces will become familiar throughout the teaching and student populations. It is hoped that those who do progress between schools having engaged with this program, will find coping with larger numbers, new friends, teachers and subjects less intimidating. Creating meaningful opportunities for parents to interact with their children at such a young age is very important to the participating preschool. Despite the ongoing efforts of the preschool staff to engage parents in activities, it is not always possible to co-ordinate long term, interactive schedules. Edwards et al (2007, p.160) suggest that ‘music has been demonstrated to be an effective way to involve the parent and child in a program that addresses the needs of both within a group setting’. Research to date has highlighted that music can be used by parents to communicate with and relate to their children. (Abad&Edwards, 2004). It is hoped that with an increase in parental confidence in using music as an effective daily communication tool with their children that music will naturally become part of their lives. It has been highlighted by all groups that musical opportunities are not plentiful in the area. With the NLH opening a new school of music in early 2011, this ‘Junior Music Hub’ will act as a feeder and progression route, thus sustaining the project. This music program will create a platform and vehicle to enable smoother transitions, communications, interactio and musical development. In creating a space for music with both parent and child, perhaps music will also ‘just be a part of their life’. (Dillion,07,p.54)