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New research reveals Early Years music-making ‘closes the gap’ in children’s development

A new research report launched on 25 March 2019 by UK charity Soundabout reveals that targeted music sessions for children in the Early Years and their families in areas of high deprivation can improve their capacity to manage their feelings and behaviour, boost their self-confidence and heighten their ability to listen and pay attention, enabling them to ‘close the gap’ in terms of meeting their age-related expectations.

According to the report, the effect is even more marked for young children with severe or profound and multiple learning difficulties and the intervention in the Early Years appears to have more impact than comparable interventions that have been tried later in childhood.

Soundabout created and ran a 10-week music programme from 2015-18, with funding from Youth Music, known as Sounds of Intent in the Early Years. The programme involved over 200 children in the Early Years in 27 Children’s Centres and specialist local organisations.

Unlocking and empowering through Soundabout

Clare Cook, Soundabout CEO, said:

‘These findings are highly significant for everyone concerned with the education and care of young children who are developmentally delayed and show what we have always suspected – that music can make a real difference to these children’s lives.

‘The main focus of Soundabout’s work is to unlock the potential of people with complex needs through music and sound and empowers parents, teachers and carers to do the same.

‘The legacy of this fully inclusive Early Years project is powerful evidence that every child in the UK (and beyond) should have the right to access to music, both for its own sake and to support their wider development.’

Matt Griffiths, CEO of Youth Music, said:

‘We know that the earlier young children get to make music the better for their personal, social and musical development.

‘This report from Soundabout takes us a step further in understanding what this impact is particularly for young children and their families who face barriers to taking part.

‘I look forward to it informing future policy and actions in the future and congratulate the Soundabout team for making it happen.’