31 Jul 2015


Music for Two: Moments of Magic for Military Families

Written by Lindsay Ibbotson, music leader on the Music for Two project

Since January this year, we having been running a joint partnership project between NYMAZ and Catterick Garrison Army Welfare Service, aimed at parents/carers with their young children aged 0 to 2 years, called ‘Music for Two’.

The title was chosen with care, reflecting not only that musical experiences are being provided for the very young, but also that an important part of this is the one-to-one interaction between adult and child – the ‘two’ that share the music!

Although there is a lot of carefully structured activity: helping the very young to discover the sensation of a musical beat, rhythms across melody and language, pitching, learning through movement, and the potential applications for dynamics and tempo for example, there is also the opportunity for children to be simply immersed in music that has real meaning for their parent/carer.

Sometimes this has meant that the music was created largely by the parents’ own voices and actions, (singing part songs, rounds and lullabies); and other times, we have “bounced” to familiar tracks like ‘All about that Bass’ by Meghan Trainor; and “snuggled” to such tracks as Alison Kraus singing ‘When you say nothing at all’.

Music is a largely social activity, offering many benefits to those who take part, both as individuals, and as group members. If we focus on the child:

• Musical activity stimulates every area of the brain, for cognitive, physical, emotional, linguistic, and social development.

If we focus on the parent/carer of the child, though all of the above still applies, the adult:

• brings a unique history of musical experience
• as well as looking for opportunities both to bond with their child, and to make wider contact with other adults.

So often, the life of a family with a parent in the Army involves shifting postings and constant change. A little emotional grounding is a precious thing, and sharing the joys of music-making plays its part in supporting this, whether it is through participating in one session, or being around long enough to enjoy the progression over a term or two.

Through the Music for Two project, there have been some moments of real magic, worth travelling through snow and rain to be a part of.

Music for Two is part of the NYMAZ Youth Music Programme for North Yorkshire, funded by the National Foundation for Youth Music.

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Tags | Early Years | Music projects | Practice-sharing

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