Music and Hearing Research
Through previous Music4U work and consultation with Arts Development partners and music hubs across the Music4U region, it has been shown that there are limited music opportunities for children and young people who are deaf. As part of Youth Music's Musical Inclusion programme, Music4U has undertaken a research project focused on this issue.
For the purposes of this project, the term 'deaf', as defined by the National Deaf Children's Society, refers to someone who is partially or wholly lacking hearing, either from birth or as a result of disease or trauma. The project concentrates on deaf children aged 0 to 5 years.
As part of the research, Music4U has been examining current levels of provision for young deaf children across the region - from York to Grimsby, Goole to Bridlington - and identifying examples of best practice nationally. The research seeks a better understanding of:
- how musical engagement can benefit deaf children and their families and carers;
- how deaf children can continue their enjoyment of music as they get older; and
- the different approaches to effective music provision, including those using technology
The project also aims to propose how Music4U and its partners might effectively engage deaf children in music across the region and identify potential funding opportunities that could support future work.
The project will culminate in a formal report, which will be launched at the 'Music to Young Ears' Conference on Wednesday 8th May, during Deaf Awareness Week.
Combining the themes of early years music and helping young children in difficult circumstances, Music4U is supporting key priorities in the 2011 National Plan for Music Education, including (but not limited to):
- Ensuring the music educational needs of all children and young people inside and out of school are identified
- Developing opportunities for very young children to access music, including performance and sharing, in suitable pre-school settings
- Improving how technology is used to help children with special educational needs and disabilities access and enjoy music
The project is also aligned with Youth Music's primary outcomes, in particular:
- raising awareness of how high-quality music-making opportunities can improve the life chances of children and young people in challenging circumstances and
- sharing expertise, knowledge and skills across the sector in order to strengthen and develop music provision for these children and young people
The research is based on academic enquiry, observations and interviews with practitioners and professionals working in music, health and education. The research has been primarily undertaken in the Music4U region, which comprises urban and rural communities, and therefore deals with issues that are germane to both settings. For this reason and others, the findings will be useful to people and organisations beyond Music4U's boundaries, helping them to consider on how music provision for deaf children is developed, delivered and evaluated in their locality.