Professor’s innovative music development project rolled out nationally

A new programme based on extensive psychological research by a University of Roehampton professor showing how musical abilities develop in the early years, and how these are vital for early childhood language and social skills has been launched nationally.

Posted: 28 September 2015

image for news story Professor’s innovative music development project rolled out nationally
Professor Adam Ockelford 

The three year-long Sounds of Intent in the Early Years programme will see highly skilled practitioners travel the country to provide training and support to early years practitioners working in children’s centres and nurseries and parents/carers showing how to use the innovative musical-developmental framework and resources.

The programme is funded by a £177,000 grant from Youth Music secured earlier this year by Professor Ockelford, so there is no cost to attend the sessions or to use the framework, which is freely available online at eysoi.org

The academic underpinning for the project has been carried out by Professor Adam Ockelford from Roehampton’s School of Education, in partnership with University College London’s Institute of Education and Eastwood Nursery School: Centre for Children and Families in Roehampton. It is designed to be fully inclusive, for all children, irrespective of their abilities, needs, preferences and cultural backgrounds. 

Professor Ockelford said: “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 through education, social skills, speech and many other developmental functions. Very young children taking part in vocal play and music with adults can benefit extensively through grasping language and to appreciating the feelings of others.”

The first year of the programme will see the framework launched nationally and then regionally, with champion organisations working towards increasing awareness through seminars and leading development at a local level. The first regional event is being hosted by Brighter Sound in Manchester on 15 October. The second and third years will see 90 information and training events held across the UK, while 27 10-week music projects with children and parents will also be undertaken.

The University of Roehampton runs a part time postgraduate certificate course in Sounds of Intent, which is taught by Professor Ockelford, which introduces students to the Sounds of Intent music-development framework and explains how to use the resources and assessment tool. The course is the only one of its kind in the world, and combines theory and practice within a vocational context. 

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