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Tri-Music Together – trail blazing hub practice in early years

There are positive signs that from 2020, the National Plan for Music Education will at last recognise the vital importance of music for children under 5, equitable access to music to all children and young people. An exciting proposition, not without complication, but a positive step towards putting early years music firmly on the music education map at a strategic level.

Many Music Education Hubs having been facilitating music in early years through practical activity in early years settings, but there some examples of hubs now creating innovative and transformative professional development programmes for the workforce, embedding core skills and practice that is sustainable and long lasting. One such example is the Tri-Music Together (TMT) project; a 2-year workforce development programme funded by the National Foundation for Youth Music and led by the Tri-Borough Music Hub.

Driven by a consortium of partners, Sound Connections being one, the Tri-Music Together programme offered professional development to teachers, early years practitioners and music leaders across three boroughs (Hammersmith and Fulham, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster). Over the two years the programme engaged with 120 settings, 249 early years practitioners and 148 music leaders through a broad programme of training, peer-to peer reflection, mini-projects and the development of resources. Reflections from evaluator Jessica Pitt, suggest that key outcomes for the project included:

  • Leaders’/ decision makers’ support and understanding are essential for quality early childhood music practice (leaders of: music hubs, arts organisations, local authorities, and settings).
  • The establishment of a strong community of collaborative learning in the early years workforce (early years practitioners/teachers and musicians)
  • Culture of reflective practice
  • Consortium provided a safe space for discussion and reflection
  • High quality tools and resources
  • Highly successful dissemination and sharing across music and early education sectors

One key aspect of the TMT project, and a particular success story, is the creation of a resource to support early childhood music and to create a legacy. Musical Development Matters is a guidance that has been written to help raise the profile of music in early childhood and to support those working with children in early childhood not only in the Tri-borough, but further afield.  This guidance has been created with the support of Early Education, Tri-Music Together and Youth Music and will be free to download from Early Education from September 2018. For more information about Tri-Music Together project, and Musical Development Matters, please contact Nicola Burke, EYFS Strategic Lead, on nicola@musicforearlyyears.co.uk

We are really excited to be hearing of more hubs developing early years activity and we are looking forward to being part of a team of organisations and individuals supporting Kent MEH to consult, map and develop a strategy for early years next academic year, as one example.

We very much hope that this is an upward trend and we will see far more hubs engaging in early years music at a strategic level, in the future.

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