Infant Musicality New Research for Educators and Parents
What can infants hear? What are their reactions to music? Is it useful for them to sing and listen to music? Is their auditory sensitivity developed before their birth? At what age do they start singing, and clapping their hands? How can their musical development be improved? These (and other) questions are present in today's debate on music education and the responses are normally given in an intuitive way. It is now necessary and urgent to sketch a developmental profile of infants, starting from their earliest manifestations. In the last 30 years, research in this field has been progressively developed. In most cases research has been devoted to single aspects of more complex problems. Moreover, it has been based on non-homogeneous categories of subjects and by different methods. Motivated by the fact that many open problems need to be solved, Professor Tafuri decided, in 1998, to begin a longitudinal research project devoted to studying the musical development in children from 0 to 6 years, with particular attention on the ability to sing in tune. During these 6 years, the children would have a regular music education experience with their mothers and often other members of the immediate family. This book has two main areas of focus. The first reconstructs the development of human musical abilities. Tafuri systematically reports studies of the development of vocal, rhythmic and motor abilities through the observation of the same participants for three years, beginning with the mothers' experiences in the last three months of pre-natal life. The programme of musical activities and the modalities of the collaboration with the parents are described. The second area of focus puts forward an educational perspective based on the results of the research. The amount and the quality of the collected data can allow parents and educators to plan different activities by considering the starting point for individual participants and the development of their musical abilities. The long-term aim is to reach an overarching understanding of the personal musicality of each subject. The book will be of crucial interest to parents and nursery/kindergarten educators so that they can have scientific, theoretical and methodological foundations for their educational strategies, as well as being of considerable interest to all musical educators, irrespective of the age of their pupils: a good knowledge of the first stages of musical development can permit a better evaluation and a fulfilment of later educational needs in music.
'Johannella Tafuri’s life work is to understand more deeply how infants benefit from formal and informal exposure to music. Her longitudinal studies, some of the most interesting and useful on the topic, provide a thoughtful, scholarly and practical account of early musical development with a special emphasis on infants’ singing ability. Tafuri has produced an immensely important contribution to the literature. Each chapter encouraged me to think, reflect, and above all, celebrate this remarkable stage of infants’ development.' Gary McPherson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA 'This is a very important book I recommend to everybody - not only to music educators and parents - interested in and fascinated by the musical capacities inherent in every child. This impressive project clearly demonstrates the importance of music, in all its forms, in the homes and lives of very small, even still unborn, children and should encourage all parents, whether they regard themselves as musical or not, to sing to their children and interact with them in music.' GÃ¶ran Folkestad, Lund University, Sweden ’... this is no dry research report and it is the vitality of the participants, children, parents and the researchers, which makes this an enjoyable read. ... A strength of this book is the quality of the research and the ages of the children that have been observed from pre-natal days until they were six. ... Such an in-depth, longitudinal study is extremely valuable. To present the research in such a palatable form adds to its value and significance. A good read for music specialists, early childhood practitioners, researchers and parents. Highly recommended.’ Australian Journal of Music Education ’The powerful attraction music has is explicated in this work and the case for the benefits of involving families in musical activities is strongly presented. Discussion of skills and how to assist in the development of skills is one that all in early chi