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Music to Young Ears Conference: Engaging Deaf Children with Music

Exploring how children under five with hearing loss can access, enjoy and benefit from musical engagement is the focus for the Music to Young Ears Conference which will take place on Wednesday 8 May, 10am to 4pm at the National Centre for Early Music in York.

The conference, which has been organised during Deaf Awareness Week (6 - 12 May), is the culmination of a Music and Hearing Research Project, which has looked at the provision of music opportunities for deaf children aged 0 to 5 years across York, East Riding of Yorkshire, Hull, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire. It is aimed at people who work in early years settings and/or with deaf children under the age of 5, as well as those involved in early years music provision. It will also be of interest to parents and carers of deaf children as well as students studying music, community music and music technology.

Led by Music4U, Youth Music's Musical Inclusion programme for York and the Humber Region, the conference features an interesting range of guest speakers including: Professor David Howard, Head of the Department of Electronics, University of York who will talk about how to make music electronically with the early years; Dr Paul Whittaker OBE, Artistic Director of Music and the Deaf who will speak about the importance of music and singing for deaf children; Bryony Parkes, Arts & Leisure Officer at the National Deaf Children's Society who will share how the NDCS is helping arts and music providers to integrate deaf children into mainstream provision; Danny Lane from Music and the Deaf who will lead an audience session to demonstrate how early years practitioners and musicians can engage deaf children with music and Sean Chandler, a deaf trumpeter and member of Goldie's Band, who will talk about what music has brought to his life and give a short performance. 

Music4U will be sharing and building on its research project as part of this conference. The conference will explore some of the ways professionals and practitioners can engage deaf children in music effectively and provide delegates with inspiration and information about why it is important to do so.

Douglas Lonie, Research and Evaluation Manager for Youth Music, commented: "There is an increasing evidence base demonstrating the importance of music making for young children, including the development of communication, language and motor skills. Children who are deaf deserve the same opportunities to develop in and through music as all children and we have an obligation to develop our understanding and practice in this area. This research provides a fantastic opportunity to do just that."

Delma Tomlin, Director of Music4U, added: "Music4U is committed to extending expertise, knowledge and skills, increase awareness about the value of high-quality music opportunities for young children and sharing learning and best practice. This conference enables us to do just that because it will offer unique perspectives from key figures from the music community and from leading organisations for people with hearing loss. 

"It will also be an opportunity for Music4U to bring together people working in music, health and education who share a passion for enriching the lives of young children through musical inclusion."

The conference marketplace will showcase services and resources for deaf children and their families. This will be an opportunity to find out more about what is available within the region and nationally.

The delegate price for the conference is £35; if booked before Friday 12 April the price is just £30. For more information or to book a place, please go to or contact the National Centre for Early Music on 01904 632220.


Press Contact: 
Shona Galletly, on behalf of National Centre for Early Music 
m: 07813 796 733

Editors Notes:

Music4U is a new music partnership, covering York, East Riding of Yorkshire, Hull, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire, and led by the National Centre for Early Music. Music4U is working to provide opportunities for children and young people in challenging circumstances to access and progress through high quality music-making. It is part of Youth Music's Musical Inclusion programme running until March 2014.