Exploring and interpreting the musical behaviors of a group of children in a public nursery school in Greece: A case study

Άννα Αρχοντοπούλου

Προφορική Ανακοίνωση

Session Μουσικές εμπειρίες στο σχολείο ( Saturday, 16-Apr-22 10:30:00 EEST )

Children's musicality is innate (Barett, 2010; Gordon, 2013; Malloch & Trevarthen, 2009;) and presents a wide range of behaviors that include rhythmic expression, movement, singing, vocal improvisation, musical play and composition (Welch, 2006; Young, 2002). As a special educator, I observed daily that movement, rhythmic games, composition of rhythmic patterns with body percussion, song, vocal improvisation and listening composed the spontaneous behavior of the children in the nursery school. My personal observations inspired me to employ an in-depth study, with the ultimate goal of studying thoroughly, describing and interpreting the musical behavior that the 20 children of a nursery school class spontaneously present.

The specific research questions were: 1) to investigate the characteristics of musical behavior, 2) to examine the reasons for its activation and 3) to understanding its functions and its manifestation. To answer the research questions, I contacted a case study of the specific group of students as well as the investigation of four cases of students from that group, who acted as key informants. I collected qualitative data through observations and field notes during free play in the corners of the classroom, breakfast and break in the school yard. At the same time I contacted semi-structured interviews with the group of children, the key informants, their parents and their teacher in a period of three months.

The study initially showed that the spontaneous behavior of children in nursery school consists of the musical elements of voice, movement, rhythm and listening. Furthermore, some common features were shown, which used as a guide for the categorization of behaviors into broader thematic units.  In addition, preliminary findings of the research showed that children's musical behavior could be activated at any time of the school day due to either a visual stimulus or to some previous experience of children. It was revealed that musical behaviors facilitated socializing, playing, expressing feelings or having fun. Finally, the influence of the media was evident in the musical behavior of the children, as their repertoire and musical play consisted of music from commercials, children's films and video games. 

Τhe research is expected to stimulate teachers’ and music educator’s interest in order to rethink the practices that they apply in the classroom and to find out new ways to integrate music in the cognitive objects that take place in the classroom. 

  • Ταυτότητες και ετερότητες στη μουσική και τη μουσική εκπαίδευση
  • Μουσικές εμπειρίες στο σχολείο, στο ωδείο και στην κοινότητα
  • Σύνδεση της μουσικής εκπαίδευσης με την καθημερινή ζωή
  • Μουσικές εμπειρίες, δια βίου μουσική μάθηση και ευζωία
Keywords characteristics of musical behaviors, preschool children, functions of musical behaviors
Language Ελληνική
Author(s) CV

Anna Archontopoulou has been working as an Early childhood Special education teacher for the last five years. She holds the title of PhD candidate in the field of Music Pedagogy of the School of Arts of the European University of Cyprus. For the needs of her doctoral degree, she investigated the musical behavior of infants in the nursery school. She has published her personal research on teachers' views on the effect of music on children with autism in the International Journal of Educational Research Review.