Developing music skills and literacy in early years settings: professional needs of practitioners

Νόπη Νικολάου-Τελεμάχου

Προφορική Ανακοίνωση

Session Music Education in a Changing World ( Friday, 15-Apr-22 19:15:00 EEST )

In early years music education, the generalist teacher is expected to have knowledge for all the different subjects and at the same time an in-depth knowledge and music skills necessary to teach music (Barrett, M. S., Flynn, L. M., Brown, J. E., & Welch, G. F., 2019). However, there is a paradox in that many teachers of young children are likely to have a rather limited musical skills and knowledge  in order to facilitate  and organise an effective music education program at their school (Telemachou, N. 2007). This divergence was  also reported  as a ‘lack of confidence’ that is resulting from  their personal  sense of musical inadequacy (Kulset & Halle, 2019, Telemachou, N. 2007). In this presentation I discuss professional development for early years teachers  through exploring Mozart’s Magic Flute. The inclusion of early years teachers’ voices in a curriculum design process served as an opportunity to explore aspects of teachers’ learning and teachers’ thinking but also children’s engagement. Due to my involvement in the recent music curriculum reform in Cyprus and also my experience in music teacher education I was invited by the ministry of education to design and run a program of professional development specifically for early childhood teachers. The purpose of this study was to create understanding through collaboration amongst early childhood teachers and music teacher educator (myself), and the extent to which such collaboration could function as a professional development for those teachers (Barrett, M. S., Zhukov, K., & Welch, G. F. , 2019). Specifically, in this particular Opera project I worked more closely with  two  early childhood teachers designing the “Magic Flute” teaching unit and help them to apply it at in two different rural preschools over a period of six weeks and additionally collaborate with four other teachers. The questions that guided this study were: a) What happens when a group of early childhood music teachers engage in collaborative professional development? b) Do teachers believe that collaborative conversations change their music teaching practices, and if so, in what ways? c) What do the teachers need to know? d) Are these linked to particular contexts, skills, or materials?  This research involved a multiple methods approach including group discussions, non-participant observations, field-notes, reflective journals, videotaping and semi-structured interviews. Data was analyzed according to emerging themes, which were then grouped into categories. Findings show that this program reduced the random approach to music teaching at the school program and increased the number and variety of musical experiences made available to children. Also, it advanced the knowledge, skills, practices and dispositions of these early childhood teachers in their endeavors to educate children. Moreover, it encouraged a culture for ongoing professional growth. 


professional development, context-based, early years, opera, collaborative development. 

  • Μουσικές εμπειρίες στο σχολείο, στο ωδείο και στην κοινότητα
Language English
Author(s) CV

Nopi Nicolaou Telemachou is a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Educational Sciences, University of Cyprus where she lectures on courses related to music, education for primary and pre primary teachers. Her research interests include Social Psychology of Music, Teacher Training, Creativity, Developing artistic activities in early childhood settingsShe has been also a member of the National Committee for the music curriculum of Cyprus public schools. She served as the General Secretary of the Board of Directors of the “ Cyprus Symphony Orchestra Foundation” and she is the Chairwoman of the “Music Talents Program” at the University of Cyprus.