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Education Professor to roll out new music programme for all early years children in England

Professor of Music in the School of Education, Adam Ockelford, has been awarded over £177,000 to expand the work of his children’s music charity Soundabout to over 2,500 Children’s Centres in the UK.

Posted: 15 April 2015

image for news story Education Professor to roll out new music programme for all early years children in England
The University of Roehampton has been working in partnership with Soundabout since 2012 to enhance the music provision for children and young people with complex needs across the UK. Together, they design and deliver training packages to special needs schools and centres that promote the use of interactive musical and communication techniques to help self-expression and interaction as part of the ‘Sounds of Intent’ project.

The new funding from Youth Music will enable Soundabout to deliver learning materials to over 2,500 Children’s Centres in the UK as well as other music hubs and organisations over the next three years. These materials are based on Professor Ockelford’s new research project – ‘Sounds of Intent in the Early Years’ – a framework of musical development that covers all ranges of ability for children aged 0–5.

The framework is designed to help practitioners and parents engage with their children through music, which research has shown is crucial to their wellbeing and development. There are currently around four million 0–5s in England and the Sounds of Intent resources, that will be freely available online, will potentially benefit them all.

Professor Ockleford said: “It’s great that so many children can benefit from this project. Music is something that we can all do and it’s so important for a young child’s development. It’s an essential part of the multisensory mix children need to help them grow and meet their full potential. If very young children don’t take part in vocal play with adults they may struggle to grasp language and to appreciate the feelings of others.”

The Applied Music Research Centre at Roehampton, has been led by professor Ockleford since 2007. Previously he was Director of Education at the Royal National Institute of Blind People. He has an international reputation for his work in the field of music and autism, and a TED talk to his name. Adam’s other research interests are in music psychology, education, theory and aesthetics and he welcomes enquiries from PhD students with any of these or related areas of interest.

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