music moves: intercultural approaches to connecting through music

The aim of this action research project was to make music accessible to families with preschool children, especially families who, for diverse reasons may not access mainstream services. Activities took place in Luton, Birmingham and Oxford.

Music leaders liaised with local children’s centre professionals including family support and health workers to:

  • establish an integrated approach that helps families to access music provision, and which benefits services to support families
  • promote music making as a valued part of provision for families
  • raise expectations of what families can do and participate in musically
  • develop practical strategies and approaches that are helpful and accessible to families.

Phase one involved interviews with parents about their existing musical interests and experiences with their children, to inform approaches and with professions about their views on using music with families. Phase two involved direct delivery of musical sessions with families over 20 weeks, and reflective sessions with the musical leaders.

Music Moves ran for two terms, from Sept 2011 to end of March 2012. The project was administered through St Thomas Centre in Birmingham, headed up by Cynthia Knight. It was funded by Youth Music and evaluated by Dr Susan Young from the University of Exeter.

The project contributed to the production of a CD of rhymes and lullabies and to the development of a training day in ‘Working with South Asian Families’. Dr Alison Street and Nuzhat Abbas reflected on this project in a paper they presented at the Music Educators and Researchers of Young Children (MERYC) conference:
Music Moves: the development of intercultural approaches to engage musically with ‘hard to reach’ families