Keith Swanwick explores the psychological and sociological dimensions of musical experience and the implications of these for children's development and music education in schools and colleges. Music is seen, with the other arts, as contributing to the growth of mind, with deep psychological roots in play. Swanwick examines the ways in which children make their own music, and confirms that there is an observable sequence of development. His insights into musical experience help to draw together and interpret fragmented psychological work that has been done in the field and make it possible to plan music education in schools, colleges and studios in a more purposeful way. His analysis of the nature of musical experience and music education has consequences both for curriculum development and the assessment of students' work, with special reference given to the National Curriculum and GCSE.