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Music to Young Ears Report Published

Musical opportunities for young deaf children up to the age of five in the Humber Region and York are the subject of a report published this week by Music4U.

This Music4U report ( has been funded by Youth Music's Musical Inclusion programme and tackles this important, but under-researched area of provision. 

Started in September 2012, the research has been examining current levels of provision for young deaf children across the Music4U region and identifying examples of national and regional best practice. The project also seeks a better understanding of the benefits of musical engagement for deaf children and some of the new and emerging trends in provision, especially those that are technology-based and being developed in the academic sphere. 

The publication of this report follows on from a national conference - 'Music to Young Ears': Engaging Deaf Children with Music - which was held at the National Centre for Early Music in York in May 2013 during Deaf Awareness Week. Ninety delegates from the music, education and health sectors, as well as parents and carers, joined Music4U for inspiring talks and practical demonstrations by six expert speakers including: Dr Paul Whittaker from Music and the Deaf, talking about the importance of music and singing for deaf children; Professor David Howard from the University of York talking about how to make music electronically with early years; Bryony Parkes from the National Deaf Children's Society speaking about how NDCS helps arts and music providers integrate deaf children into mainstream provision with specialised services and resources; flautist Alison Stephenson who talked about her approach to teaching music to deaf children and her work as a role model for the NDCS; and Sean Chandler, deaf trumpeter and member of Goldie's Band, who talked about what music has brought to his life. For more information about the conference and a short film, which includes interviews with the speakers, visit

Like the conference, the purpose of the report is to share the learning from Music4U's research programme with wider audiences and stimulate debate and discussion. It provides a thorough review of the issues relating to the provision of music opportunities to deaf children up to the age of five. It also offers some recommendations for how Music4U can work in partnership to build on the research and learning. 

Douglas Lonie, Research and Evaluation Manager for Youth Music, commented: "This report is  an extremely valuable contribution to the evidence base demonstrating the importance of music-making for young children. The ability to express oneself musically is an important element of all children's development and can help with stronger communication, language and motor skills throughout childhood. 

"Children who are deaf deserve the same opportunities to develop in and through music as hearing 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 recognises all the wonderful outcomes that engagement in music can bring to young deaf children - from sheer enjoyment to the developmental benefits. It is a unique area of music provision and we are proud to be contributing to the research on this important subject. The research has enabled Music4U to connect with leading organisations in the field and we are working to build on our learning and these partnerships to help bring more opportunities to deaf youngsters in our region."

The report is available for download from the Music4U website ( For more information about Music4U's music and deafness research or to share your experience in this area of music provision, please contact Annabel Hanson, Music and Deafness Research Co-ordinator, at 

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

Editors Notes:
Music4U ( is a 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.

Youth Music ( has a mission to be at the heart of children and young people's music-making, identifying and investing in learning activities for those with least opportunity. They use their unique intelligence to drive fresh thinking across music education.